How to Choose a Nursing Program near Vidalia Georgia
Choosing the best nursing program near Vidalia GA may feel like a formidable endeavor, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many future students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional considerations to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Vidalia GA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options available 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 just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Vidalia GA 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 position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive 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 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 normally a two year program after achieving 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 obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Georgia board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are essentially two scholastic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be Georgia approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at Vidalia GA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction 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 minimal period of instruction mandated and each state has its own requirements. So it’s important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for Georgia or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Vidalia GA or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Georgia and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Vidalia GA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary 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 essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Georgia or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Georgia school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Vidalia GA 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 schools 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Vidalia GA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Vidalia GA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for some Vidalia GA students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family 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 hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Vidalia GA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Vidalia Georgia 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.
Vidalia (/vaɪˈdeɪliə/ vye-DAY-lee-ə, locally /-ˈdeɪjə/ -DAY-yə) is a city located primarily in Toombs County, Georgia, United States. The city also extends very slightly into Montgomery County. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 10,473.
Vidalia is the principal city of the Vidalia Micropolitan Statistical Area, a micropolitan area that covers Montgomery and Toombs Counties, and had a combined population of 36,346 at the 2010 census.
The town was incorporated on January 1, 1890. It is the largest city in Toombs County, but it is not the county seat. Although a Georgia website suggests the town may have been named "via dalia" ("road of dahlias"), it may have been named — like Vidalia, Louisiana — in honor of Don José Vidal, a Spanish aristocrat.
Select the Right Nursing Program near Vidalia GA
Selecting the ideal registered nursing school is arguably the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous variables that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each 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 final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Vidalia GA.
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