How to Find the Right Nursing College near Waterford Virginia
Searching for the right nursing college near Waterford VA may feel like a complicated project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination entirely 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 ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of important additional aspects to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as Waterford VA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing 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 responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees offered 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 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Waterford VA 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 job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four 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 normally a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the Virginia board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are basically two academic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, typically about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it should be Virginia approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at Waterford VA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for Virginia or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state approved. As well as 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.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Waterford VA or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Virginia and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.
- 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. In addition to helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Waterford VA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Virginia or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the Virginia school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Waterford VA 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 schools you are considering 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Waterford VA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Waterford VA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some 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 can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some Waterford VA students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Waterford VA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Waterford Virginia 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.
Waterford is an unincorporated village in the Catoctin Valley of Loudoun County, Virginia, located along Catoctin Creek. Waterford is 47 miles (76 km) northwest of Washington, D.C., and 7 miles (11 km) northwest of Leesburg. The entire village and surrounding countryside is a National Historic Landmark District, noted for its well-preserved 18th and 19th-century character.
Waterford was established around 1733 by Amos Janney, a Quaker from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Janney purchased 400 acres (1.6 km2) on the south fork of Catoctin Creek and established a grist mill and saw mill in the area in the 1740s. Due to the success of the mills, the settlement became known as "Janney's Mill". The town grew quickly as a center of commerce for growers of grain. 
Amos Janney died in 1747, leaving his estate to his sixteen-year-old son, Mahlon. Mahlon replaced the original log mill with a two-story structure. The village continued to grow, and in 1780, 12 acres (49,000 m2) on the south side of Main Street were subdivided into 15 lots, upon which shops and homes were built. By the 1790s, the village was known as Waterford, named after the city of Waterford, in Ireland, where some of its founders had once lived before immigrating to the United States. New residents continued to come from Pennsylvania, as Quakers were followed by Presbyterians, Lutherans, Baptists, and Methodists. Waterford was also populated by African-Americans, both free and enslaved.
Enroll in the Right Nursing School near Waterford VA
Enrolling in the right registered nursing college is perhaps the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using 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 right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Waterford VA.
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