How to Choose a Nursing School near Norco Louisiana
Finding the best nursing school near Norco LA may feel like a complicated undertaking, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are several key additional factors to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including Norco LA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Norco LA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire to progress 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 instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the Louisiana board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are essentially two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it needs to be Louisiana approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at Norco LA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and each state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for Louisiana or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Norco LA or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Louisiana and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Norco LA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Louisiana or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Louisiana school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Norco 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Norco LA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Norco LA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for many Norco LA students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many 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 little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Norco LA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Norco 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.
Select the Right Nursing College near Norco LA
Choosing the right registered nursing program is potentially the most critical step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous aspects that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Norco LA.
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