How to Select a Nursing School near Athol Idaho
Finding the best nursing program near Athol ID may seem like a difficult project, especially if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many future students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is local to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are many important additional things to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Athol ID hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees available 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 continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Athol ID area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 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) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Idaho board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Idaho approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at Athol ID area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training 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 receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training mandated and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for Idaho or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Athol ID or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Idaho and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Athol ID 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, 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 readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Idaho or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Idaho school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Athol ID 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Athol ID healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific 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 Athol ID hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some Athol ID students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous 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 household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Athol ID?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Athol Idaho 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.
Athol is a city in Kootenai County, Idaho, United States. The population was 692 at the 2010 census, up from 676 in 2000. It is part of the Coeur d'Alene Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes the entire county.
As of 2000 the median income for a household in the city was $30,595, and the median income for a family was $31,875. Males had a median income of $28,438 versus $17,813 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,632. About 11.0% of families and 14.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.3% of those under age 18 and 23.7% of those age 65 or over.
As of the census of 2010, there were 692 people, 282 households, and 176 families residing in the city. The population density was 875.9 inhabitants per square mile (338.2/km2). There were 305 housing units at an average density of 386.1 per square mile (149.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.0% White, 0.9% Native American, and 2.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.3% of the population.
Pick the Right Nursing School near Athol ID
Picking the ideal registered nursing program is probably the most critical step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are various aspects that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is critical that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Athol ID.
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