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Nursing Schools Near Me | How to Become an RN – West des Moines IA

How to Select a Nursing Program near West des Moines Iowa

West des Moines IA surgical nurse assisting surgeonSearching for the best nursing school near West des Moines IA may feel like a complicated project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you 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 measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive 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 essential additional aspects to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

West des Moines IA Neonatal Nurse with babyRegistered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including West des Moines IA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to support doctors in the treatment 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. A few of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 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 receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the West des Moines IA area.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
  • Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 two 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.

When a graduating student has received 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 can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Iowa board of nursing for any state mandates.

LVN and LPN Programs

West des Moines IA LPN assisting patientThere are principally two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest period of time, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative 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, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, 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 Iowa approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another 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.

CNA Diplomas

Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at West des Moines IA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just 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 training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for Iowa or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training 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 requirements as well.

Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

geriatric nurse with elderly patient in West des Moines IANow that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near West des Moines IA or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Iowa and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.

  • 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 agency. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in West des Moines IA 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified 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 a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Iowa or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, check with the Iowa school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some West des Moines IA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the West des Moines IA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with West des Moines IA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Online Nursing Programs

woman attending nursing school online in West des Moines IAAttending nursing colleges online is growing into a more in demand way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend school for many West des Moines IA students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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. Therefore if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Attending a Nursing School near West des Moines IA?

Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater West des Moines Iowa 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.

West Des Moines, Iowa

West Des Moines is a city in Polk, Dallas, and Warren counties in the U.S. state of Iowa. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 56,609.[4][5] West Des Moines is the second-largest city in the Des Moines metropolitan area and the tenth-largest city in Iowa. It ranked 94th in Money magazine's list of the "100 Best Places to Live and Launch" in 2008, 77th and 57th on the 100 Best Places to Live in 2014 and 2015, respectively, and 18th on the Hipster Cities of 2015.[6][7][8]

The West Des Moines area used to be home to the Sac and Fox tribes. Near the stroke of midnight on October 11, 1845 a gunshot was fired by a cattle farmer, James Cunningham Jordan (1813–1893) and the tribes left. His residence, the Jordan House, has been restored and is now home to the West Des Moines Historical Society. In West Des Moines' early years, the town was a trading and shipping junction. West Des Moines incorporated as the city of Valley Junction on October 9, 1893.

In its early days Valley Junction was home to the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad's switching facilities and repair shops due to its location at the junction of several railroad lines. The Rock Island's facilities moved out of Valley Junction and back into Des Moines in 1936.

Choose the Right Nursing School near West des Moines IA

West des Moines IA nursing studentDeciding on the ideal registered nursing program is probably the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in West des Moines IA.

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