How to Choose a Nursing Program near West Bend Iowa
Finding the best nursing program near West Bend IA may seem like a formidable endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your home is probably not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are various key additional aspects to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely West Bend IA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option offered 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 earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the West Bend IA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the Iowa board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are basically two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it should be Iowa approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests 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 need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at West Bend IA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training mandated and each state has its own requirements. So it’s important to make sure 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 tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near West Bend IA or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Iowa and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in West Bend IA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Iowa or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Iowa school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some West Bend IA 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the West Bend IA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with West Bend IA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for many West Bend IA students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near West Bend IA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater West Bend 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 Bend, Iowa
West Bend had its start in the early 1880s by the building of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern Railway through that territory. It was originally called Ives after the president of the railroad, but the townspeople had it changed to West Bend from the bend in the river. West Bend (aka Ives) was the first town in Palo Alto County. A special five cent tax to build a railroad station was promised to the railroad if they would create a stop when the railroad was built. The railroad did that placing the line and the new station in West Bend.
As of the census of 2010, there were 785 people, 360 households, and 213 families residing in the city. The population density was 882.0 inhabitants per square mile (340.5/km2). There were 396 housing units at an average density of 444.9 per square mile (171.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 99.1% White, 0.1% Native American, and 0.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.4% of the population.
There were 360 households of which 20.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.7% were married couples living together, 4.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.8% were non-families. 38.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 23.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.07 and the average family size was 2.71.
Select the Right Nursing Program near West Bend IA
Picking the right registered nursing college is probably the most important phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of variables that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in West Bend IA.
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