How to Select a Nursing School near Alexandria Kentucky
Choosing the right nursing school near Alexandria KY may seem like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are various essential additional aspects to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Alexandria KY hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Alexandria KY area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Kentucky board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are principally two academic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it should be Kentucky approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at Alexandria KY area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction required and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for Kentucky or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Alexandria KY or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Kentucky and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Alexandria KY for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Kentucky or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Kentucky school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Alexandria KY healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Alexandria KY medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Alexandria KY hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more in demand way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend college for many Alexandria KY students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Alexandria KY?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Alexandria Kentucky area. If that is the case, then the following information may prove to be both educational and useful regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Alexandria is a home rule-class city in Campbell County, Kentucky, in the United States. Along with Newport, it is one of the dual seats of the county. The population was 8,477 at the 2010 census.
It is believed that the area that is now Alexandria was first settled by Frank Spilman and his family c. 1793. The Spilman family was from King George County, Virginia, and they may have named their settlement after Alexandria, Virginia. The family had begun developing and selling lots in the settlement by 1819, the year the first post office was established. On February 22, 1834, Alexandria was formally established by an act of the state assembly.
When the Kentucky General Assembly formed Kenton County from part of Campbell County in 1840, they moved Campbell's county seat from Newport to Alexandria, which was closer to the center of the redrawn county. The citizens of Alexandria quickly constructed a county courthouse but, because the majority of the county's population lived in Newport, the move was not a popular one and it took a court order and a visit from the sheriff to get the county clerk to move.
Select the Right Nursing Program near Alexandria KY
Choosing the right registered nursing degree program is arguably the most important step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous variables that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed in this post, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Alexandria KY.
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