How to Choose a Nursing College near Virginia Beach Virginia
Finding the right nursing program near Virginia Beach VA may seem like a challenging undertaking, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is closest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are many important additional considerations to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Virginia Beach VA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping 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 commonly 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 available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Virginia Beach VA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 typically a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to check with the Virginia board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are basically two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest time frame, normally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it should be Virginia approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees 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 many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at Virginia Beach VA 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 instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for Virginia or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch 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 can be additional prerequisites as well.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Virginia Beach VA or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Virginia and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly 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 selection, 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 organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Virginia Beach VA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Virginia or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Virginia school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Virginia Beach VA 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 looking at 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 dissatisfied 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 good reputation within the Virginia Beach VA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Virginia Beach VA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for some Virginia Beach VA students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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 work and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Virginia Beach VA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Virginia Beach 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.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Virginia Beach is an independent city located on the southeastern coast of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 437,994. In 2015, the population was estimated to be 452,745. Although mostly suburban in character, it is the most populous city in Virginia and the 41st most populous city in the nation. Located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach is included in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area. This area, known as "America's First Region", also includes the independent cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, as well as other smaller cities, counties, and towns of Hampton Roads.
Virginia Beach is a resort city with miles of beaches and hundreds of hotels, motels, and restaurants along its oceanfront. Every year the city hosts the East Coast Surfing Championships as well as the North American Sand Soccer Championship, a beach soccer tournament. It is also home to several state parks, several long-protected beach areas, three military bases, a number of large corporations, Regent University, International headquarters and site of the television broadcast studios for Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Edgar Cayce's Association for Research and Enlightenment, and numerous historic sites. Near the point where the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean meet, Cape Henry was the site of the first landing of the English colonists, who eventually settled in Jamestown, on April 26, 1607.
The city is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having the longest pleasure beach in the world. It is located at the southern end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, the longest bridge-tunnel complex in the world.
Pick the Right Nursing School near Virginia Beach VA
Deciding on the right registered nursing degree program is probably the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of aspects that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is essential that you pick 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 create a short list of schools to select 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 Virginia Beach VA.
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