How to Pick a Nursing School near Westminster South Carolina
Selecting the best nursing program near Westminster SC may seem like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is local to your residence is no doubt not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of key additional aspects to explore before you determine 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 healthcare system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Westminster SC hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring 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 often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees to choose from 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Westminster SC area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 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 usually a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the South Carolina board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are generally two academic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides 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 needs to be South Carolina approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Westminster SC area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive 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 amount of training directed and each state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for South Carolina or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation 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 mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Westminster SC or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within South Carolina 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 discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Westminster SC for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as 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 attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for South Carolina or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the South Carolina school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Westminster SC 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Westminster SC healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Westminster SC hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more popular way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend college for many Westminster SC students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Westminster SC?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Westminster South Carolina 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.
Westminster, South Carolina
Westminster was founded on March 17, 1875 when the charter was signed. It was founded as a water stop on the Southern Railway. As stores, shops and factories started to set up around the train stop, it bloomed into a decent-sized town. Its peak of expansion came in the 1920s.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,743 people, 1,191 households, and 761 families residing in the city. The population density was 796.6 people per square mile (307.9/km²). There were 1,333 housing units at an average density of 387.1 per square mile (149.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.60% White, 11.81% African American, 0.04% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 1.20% from other races, and 1.17% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.48% of the population.
There were 1,191 households out of which 26.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.7% were married couples living together, 14.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.1% were non-families. 32.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.90.
Enroll in the Right Nursing Degree near Westminster SC
Picking the ideal registered nursing college is perhaps the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are many aspects that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this article, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Westminster SC.
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