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Nursing Schools Near Me | How to Become an RN – Westcliffe CO

How to Pick a Nursing Program near Westcliffe Colorado

Westcliffe CO surgical nurse assisting surgeonSelecting the right nursing school near Westcliffe CO may feel like a formidable endeavor, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many future students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is local to your residence is probably not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of important additional considerations to look into before you determine 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 medical system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Westcliffe CO Neonatal Nurse with babyRegistered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Westcliffe CO hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Managing 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 typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees

There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Westcliffe CO area.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 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 generally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

Once 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. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Colorado board of nursing for any state mandates.

LVN and LPN Courses

Westcliffe CO LPN assisting patientThere are generally two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with 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 Colorado approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

CNA Certificates

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at Westcliffe CO area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 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 training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for Colorado or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. As well as 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.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

geriatric nurse with elderly patient in Westcliffe COOnce you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Westcliffe CO or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Colorado and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school and the cost 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 only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.

  • Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you receive an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Westcliffe CO for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Colorado or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Colorado school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Westcliffe CO 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Westcliffe CO healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Westcliffe CO hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Nursing Online Classes

woman attending nursing school online in Westcliffe COEnrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend classes for many Westcliffe CO students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more 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. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Attending a Nursing School near Westcliffe CO?

Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Westcliffe Colorado 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.

Westcliffe, Colorado

Westcliffe is located west of the geographic center of Custer County at 38°7′58″N 105°27′57″W / 38.13278°N 105.46583°W / 38.13278; -105.46583 (38.132874, -105.465920).[12] It lies in the Wet Mountain Valley, between the Wet Mountains to the east and the Sangre de Cristo Range to the west. The town of Silver Cliff is immediately to the east of Westcliffe.

Westcliffe, and neighboring Silver Cliff, Colorado are recognized as IDA International Dark Sky Communities by The International Dark-Sky Association. Gentle persuasion has resulted in residents and business in the towns and surrounding ranch land reducing the amount of light pollution.[13]

As of the census[15] of 2000, there were 417 people, 194 households, and 108 families residing in the town. The population density was 367.1 people per square mile (141.2/km²). There were 246 housing units at an average density of 216.6 per square mile (83.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.44% White, 1.92% Native American, 0.24% Asian, and 2.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.16% of the population.

Choose the Right Nursing School near Westcliffe CO

Westcliffe CO nursing studentChoosing the right registered nursing college is perhaps the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various factors that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is essential that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose 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 licensed RN in Westcliffe CO.

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