How to Find the Right Nursing School near Williamstown Pennsylvania
Choosing the best nursing program near Williamstown PA may seem like a challenging endeavor, especially if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your residence is no doubt not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are many key additional considerations to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Williamstown PA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Williamstown PA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four 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 might 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 usually a 2 year program after acquiring 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 attained 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 Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next 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 advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it should be Pennsylvania approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum effectively 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 have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Williamstown PA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one 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 minimal period of instruction required and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course 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 determined which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Williamstown PA or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Williamstown PA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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 specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Williamstown PA 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 colleges you are looking at 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Williamstown PA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Williamstown PA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many Williamstown PA students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Williamstown PA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Williamstown Pennsylvania 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.
Williamstown is a borough in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, United States, 38 miles (61 km) northeast of Harrisburg. Formerly, anthracite coal mines were here, as well as hosiery mills. The population was 1,387 at the 2010 census.
Williamstown is located in northeastern Dauphin County at 40°34′52″N 76°37′6″W / 40.58111°N 76.61833°W / 40.58111; -76.61833 (40.581075, -76.618296). It is in the valley of Wiconisco Creek, between Big Lick Mountain to the north and Peters Mountain to the south. U.S. Route 209 passes to the south of the borough, leading northeast 24 miles (39 km) to Pottsville and west 11 miles (18 km) to Elizabethville.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,433 people, 611 households, and 406 families residing in the borough. The population density was 5,692.2 people per square mile (2,213.1/km²). There were 716 housing units at an average density of 2,844.1 per square mile (1,105.8/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 99.02% White, 0.14% African American, 0.07% Native American, 0.21% Asian, 0.07% from other races, and 0.49% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.35% of the population.
Select the Right Nursing College near Williamstown PA
Picking the ideal registered nursing college is arguably the most important step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of aspects that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Williamstown PA.
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