How to Enroll In a Nursing Program near Whitewood South Dakota
Choosing the best nursing school near Whitewood SD may seem like a formidable project, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are various essential additional aspects to explore before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Whitewood SD hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing 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), as an example, 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Whitewood SD area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 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 instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has earned 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. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the South Dakota board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Training
There are basically two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest period of time, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, 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 South Dakota approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum properly 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 have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Whitewood SD 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 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 minimum period of instruction mandated and each state has its own requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for South Dakota 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 education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Whitewood SD or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within South Dakota and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Whitewood SD for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for South Dakota or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the South Dakota school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Whitewood SD healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Whitewood SD healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. 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 also. Check if the schools have associations with Whitewood SD hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Whitewood SD students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Whitewood SD?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Whitewood South Dakota 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.
Whitewood, South Dakota
As of the census of 2010, there were 927 people, 374 households, and 232 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,448.4 inhabitants per square mile (559.2/km2). There were 392 housing units at an average density of 612.5 per square mile (236.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.9% White, 0.8% African American, 3.7% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 3.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.5% of the population.
There were 374 households of which 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.8% were married couples living together, 8.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 7.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.0% were non-families. 30.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.05.
The median age in the city was 38.8 years. 26.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.7% were from 25 to 44; 28.8% were from 45 to 64; and 14.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.6% male and 49.4% female.
Select the Right Nursing Program near Whitewood SD
Deciding on the right registered nursing school is arguably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many variables that you should think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this article, it is important that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Whitewood SD.
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