How to Choose a Nursing Program near West Plains Missouri
Choosing the best nursing college near West Plains MO may seem like a formidable project, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many crucial additional aspects to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including West Plains MO hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing 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 accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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 Degree Options
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the West Plains MO 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 position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally 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 desire 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 provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Missouri board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are principally two academic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option 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 advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Missouri approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests 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 other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at West Plains MO area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training directed and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for Missouri or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near West Plains MO or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Missouri and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial 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 ultimate choice, use the following questions to see 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 agency. Besides helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in West Plains MO for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to 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 important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Missouri or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, check with the Missouri school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some West Plains MO 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the West Plains MO healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with West Plains MO hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more preferred way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for many West Plains MO students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near West Plains MO?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater West Plains Missouri 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 Plains, Missouri
The history of West Plains can be traced back to 1832, when settler Josiah Howell (after whom Howell County is named) created the first settlement in the region known as Howell Valley. West Plains was so named because the settlement was on a prairie in a westerly direction from the nearest town, Thomasville.
The Courthouse Square Historic District, Elledge Arcade Buildings, International Shoe Company Building, Mount Zion Lodge Masonic Temple, W. J. and Ed Smith Building, and West Plains Bank Building are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The location of West Plains led to nearly constant conflict due to the proximity to what was then the border between the Union and Confederacy. West Plains was largely burned to the ground, and Howell County as a whole was devastated. No major battles occurred in West Plains or Howell County, but much of the devastation came from constant guerrilla warfare.
Enroll in the Right Nursing Degree near West Plains MO
Picking the ideal registered nursing school is arguably the most critical step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous factors that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in West Plains MO.
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