How to Enroll In a Nursing Program near Winona Minnesota
Searching for the right nursing program near Winona MN may feel like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional aspects to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Winona MN 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 particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping 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 commonly 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.
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Winona MN area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four 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 job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a 2 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, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Minnesota board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are principally two academic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more extensive training, 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 Minnesota approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study adequately 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 need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Winona MN area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for Minnesota or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Winona MN or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Minnesota and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points 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 pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Winona MN for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as 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 enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Minnesota or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Minnesota school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Winona MN 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Winona MN medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire 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 as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Winona MN hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount 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 practical answer to finding the time to attend school for some Winona MN students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper 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 many 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 responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Winona MN?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Winona Minnesota 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.
Winona is a city in and the county seat of Winona County, in the state of Minnesota. Located in picturesque bluff country on the Mississippi River, its most noticeable physical landmark is Sugar Loaf. The city is named after legendary figure Winona, said to have been the first-born daughter of Chief Wapasha (Wabasha) III. The population was 27,592 at the 2010 census.
Non-Native Americans settled the area in 1851 and laid out the town into lots in 1852 and 1853. The original settlers were Yankee immigrants from New England. The population increased from 815 in December, 1855, to 3,000 in December, 1856. In 1856 German immigrants arrived as well. The Germans and the Yankees worked together planting trees and building businesses based on lumber, wheat, steamboating and railroads. Between 1859 and 1900, some 5,000 Poles and closely related Kashubians emigrated to Winona, making up one quarter of the population. Since 80% of them were Kashubians, Winona became known as the "Kashubian Capital of America." For a time, Winona had more millionaires than any other city of its size in the United States.
The railroad and steamboat transportation industries helped Winona grow into a small city that diversified into wheat milling, and lumber production. In 1856, over 1,300 steamboats stopped at Winona. The railway system grew and the Winona Railway Bridge, built of steel and iron with a steam-powered swingspan over the river, was the second railway bridge to span the Mississippi. The first train crossed on July 4, 1891 and the bridge served the Green Bay & Western (GBW) and Burlington Route for the next 94 years until it was closed in 1985 and dismantled in the fall of 1990. In 1892, a wagon toll-bridge over the Mississippi, a steel high-bridge, was completed and remained in service until 1942.
Choose the Right Nursing College near Winona MN
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing program is arguably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are numerous factors that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is critical that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Winona MN.
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