How to Find the Right Nursing School near Baton Rouge Louisiana
Selecting the best nursing college near Baton Rouge LA may seem like a complex undertaking, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many future students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are several key additional aspects to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Baton Rouge LA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Baton Rouge LA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment 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 focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Louisiana board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are essentially two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest period of time, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it should be Louisiana approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at Baton Rouge LA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for Louisiana or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Baton Rouge LA or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Louisiana and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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. In addition to helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Baton Rouge LA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Louisiana or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, check with the Louisiana school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Baton Rouge LA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs you are considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy 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 Baton Rouge LA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Baton Rouge LA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some Baton Rouge LA students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Baton Rouge LA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Baton Rouge Louisiana 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.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Baton Rouge (/ˌbætən ˈruːʒ/ BAT-ən ROOZH; from French bâton rouge [bɑtɔ̃ ʁuʒ] ( listen), meaning 'red stick') is the capital of the U.S. state of Louisiana and its second-largest city. Located on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River, it is the parish seat of East Baton Rouge Parish.
As its capital city, Baton Rouge is the political hub of Louisiana. It is the second-largest city in the state, with an estimated population of 227,715 in 2016. The metropolitan area surrounding the city, known as Greater Baton Rouge, is also the second-largest in Louisiana, with a population of 830,480 people as of 2015. The urban area has around 594,309 inhabitants.
Baton Rouge is a major industrial, petrochemical, medical, research, motion picture, and growing technology center of the American South. It is the location of Louisiana State University, the LSU System's flagship university and the largest institution of higher education in the state. It is also the location of Southern University, the flagship institution of the Southern University System, the only historically black college system in the nation. The Port of Greater Baton Rouge is the 10th-largest in the United States in terms of tonnage shipped, and is the farthest upstream Mississippi River port capable of handling Panamax ships.
Choose the Right Nursing Program near Baton Rouge LA
Deciding on the right registered nursing school is perhaps the most critical step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are many factors that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Baton Rouge LA.
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