How to Enroll In a Nursing School near Walla Walla Washington
Choosing the right nursing school near Walla Walla WA may feel like a complex project, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are various crucial additional things to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including Walla Walla WA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing 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 accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options 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 earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Walla Walla WA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly 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 subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 commonly a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to check with the Washington board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Training
There are basically two scholastic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest time frame, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, 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 Washington approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at Walla Walla WA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for Washington 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 education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Walla Walla WA or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Washington and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things 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 evaluate how your selection compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Walla Walla WA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Washington or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Washington school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Walla Walla WA 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 colleges 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Walla Walla WA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. 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 Walla Walla WA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for many Walla Walla WA students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. 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. So if your work and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Walla Walla WA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Walla Walla Washington 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.
Walla Walla, Washington
The population of the city itself was 31,731 at the 2010 census. The population of Walla Walla and its two suburbs, the town of College Place and unincorporated "East Walla Walla," is about 45,000. Walla Walla is in the southeastern region of Washington, approximately four hours away by car from Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, and only six miles north of the Oregon border.
Recorded history in this state begins with the establishment of Fort Nez Perce in 1818 by the North West Company to trade with the Walla Walla people and other local Native American groups. At the time, the term "Nez Perce" was used more broadly than today, and included the Walla Walla in its scope in English usage. Fort Nez Perce had its name shift to Fort Walla Walla. It was located significantly west of the present city.
On September 1, 1836, Marcus Whitman arrived with his wife Narcissa Whitman. Here they established the Whitman Mission in an unsuccessful attempt to convert the local Walla Walla tribe to Christianity. Following a disease epidemic, both were killed by the Cayuse who believed that the missionaries were poisoning the native peoples. Whitman College was established in their honor.
Choose the Right Nursing College near Walla Walla WA
Enrolling in the right registered nursing program is probably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous factors that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Walla Walla WA.
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