How to Select a Nursing College near Plains Montana
Choosing the right nursing program near Plains MT may feel like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are several crucial additional aspects to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Plains MT hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often 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 multiple degrees 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 earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Plains MT area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two 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) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally 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 may 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 usually a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Montana board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are basically two academic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest period of time, typically about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Montana approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at Plains MT 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. 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for Montana or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Plains MT or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Montana and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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. In addition to helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Plains MT for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific 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 an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Montana or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Montana school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Plains MT 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 dissatisfied 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 Plains MT medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Plains MT hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend classes for many Plains MT students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Plains MT?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Plains Montana 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.
Plains (Salish: ncc̓kʷi) is a town in Sanders County, Montana, United States. The population was 1,048 at the 2010 census. It was founded as Horse Plains and sometimes called Wild Horse Plains, as the local American Indians would winter their horses here to feed on the grasses in the valley. The name was later shortened to Plains when the US Postal Service established a presence in 1905.
Plains is located at 47°27′31″N 114°53′6″W / 47.45861°N 114.88500°W / 47.45861; -114.88500 (47.458504, -114.885024). The town straddles the Clark Fork River with the fairgrounds on one shore and the town proper on the other.
This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Plains has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.
Pick the Right Nursing College near Plains MT
Choosing the right registered nursing degree program is arguably the most critical first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this content, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Plains MT.
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