How to Find the Right Nursing Program near Waterloo Indiana
Choosing the best nursing school near Waterloo IN may feel like a complicated project, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are various key additional aspects to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Waterloo IN hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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 basic illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options 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 earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Waterloo IN area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 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 desire 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 typically a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained 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. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Indiana board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are essentially two academic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest period of time, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be Indiana 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 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 many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Waterloo IN area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have 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 amount of instruction required and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for Indiana or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course 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.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Waterloo IN or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Indiana and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Waterloo IN 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Indiana or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Indiana school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Waterloo IN 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 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Waterloo IN healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Waterloo IN hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for some Waterloo IN students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Waterloo IN?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Waterloo Indiana 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.
Choose the Right Nursing School near Waterloo IN
Picking the ideal registered nursing program is probably the most important first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many variables that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is essential that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Waterloo IN.
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