How to Choose a Nursing Program near Washington North Carolina
Choosing the best nursing school near Washington NC may seem like a complex undertaking, especially if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are various important additional things to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Washington NC hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating 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), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option offered 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 continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Washington NC area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a two year program after obtaining 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 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. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the North Carolina board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides providing 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 seek, it needs to be North Carolina approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other 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.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at Washington NC area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction 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 mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction required and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for North Carolina or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training 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 may be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for some Washington NC students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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. Therefore if your job and household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Washington NC or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout North Carolina and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary 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 final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Washington NC for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different 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. 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 a top-notch education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for North Carolina or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, check with the North Carolina school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Washington NC 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Washington NC healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Washington NC hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Washington NC?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Washington North 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.
Beaufort County, North Carolina
Beaufort County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 Census, the population was 47,759. Its county seat is Washington. The county was founded in 1705 as Pamptecough Precinct. Originally included in Bath County, it was renamed Beaufort Precinct in 1712 and became Beaufort County in 1739.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 958 square miles (2,480 km2), of which 827 square miles (2,140 km2) is land and 131 square miles (340 km2) (14%) is water. It is the fifth-largest county in North Carolina by total area. It is split in half by the Pamlico River and the mouth of the Pamlico River.
As of the census of 2000, there were 44,958 people, 18,319 households, and 12,951 families residing in the county. The population density was 54 people per square mile (21/km²). There were 22,139 housing units at an average density of 27 per square mile (10/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 68.44% White, 29.03% Black or African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.42% from other races, and 0.71% from two or more races. 3.24% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Select the Right Nursing Program near Washington NC
Picking the ideal nursing degree program is probably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed in this article, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Washington NC.
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