How to Choose a Nursing College near Thurston Oregon
Finding the right nursing school near Thurston OR may seem like a challenging project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to select a nursing program. There are many key additional factors to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Thurston OR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance 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 Thurston OR area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job 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 example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Oregon board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Training
There are generally two scholastic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, generally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Oregon 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 adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Thurston OR area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain 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 amount of training required and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for Oregon or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training 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 additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for many Thurston OR students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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. Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Thurston OR or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Oregon and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Thurston OR for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific 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 provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Oregon or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Oregon school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Thurston OR healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Thurston OR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Thurston OR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Thurston OR?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Thurston Oregon 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.
Pick the Right Nursing Program near Thurston OR
Selecting the right nursing program is perhaps the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are many aspects that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Thurston OR.
More Nursing School Locations in Oregon