How to Enroll In a Nursing College near Opelousas Louisiana
Searching for the right nursing program near Opelousas LA may seem like a complex endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are many crucial additional considerations to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Opelousas LA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to assist 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 portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often 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.
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 just two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Opelousas LA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 usually a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Louisiana board of nursing for any state mandates.
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 time frame, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be Louisiana approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus properly 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 attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Opelousas LA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program 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 training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets 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 training is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Opelousas LA or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Louisiana and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Opelousas LA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Louisiana or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, contact the Louisiana school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Opelousas LA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools you are looking at 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Opelousas LA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Opelousas LA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for some Opelousas LA students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Opelousas LA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Opelousas 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.
Opelousas (French:les Opelousas) is a small city in and the parish seat of St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, United States.Interstate 49 and U.S. Route 190 were constructed with a junction here. The population was 22,860 at the 2000 census. In 2004 the city annexed territory and population expected to give it more than 25,000 people in total. In the 2010 census, the population was 16,634. Opelousas is the principal city for the Opelousas-Eunice Micropolitan Statistical Area, which had an estimated population of 92,178 in 2008. Opelousas is also the third-largest city in the Lafayette-Acadiana Combined Statistical Area, which has a population of 537,947.
With an area of 7.5 square miles, Opelousas is the most densely populated incorporated city in Louisiana. Founded by French colonists in 1720, Opelousas is Louisiana's third-oldest city. The city served as a major trading post between New Orleans and Natchitoches in the 18th and 19th centuries. Historically an area of settlement by French Creoles, Creoles of color, and Acadians, Opelousas is the center of zydeco music. It celebrates its heritage at the Creole Heritage Folklife Center, one of the destinations on the new Louisiana African American Heritage Trail. It is also the location of the Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino.
The city calls itself "the spice capital of the world", with production and sale of seasonings such as Tony Chachere's products, Targil Seasonings, Savoie's cajun meats and products, and LouAna Cooking Oil. Opelousas was the site of one of the nation's two Yoohoo factories until it closed in 2009.
Select the Right Nursing Program near Opelousas LA
Selecting the right registered nursing college is potentially the most important step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Opelousas LA.
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