How to Select a Nursing College near Valley Washington
Finding the best nursing college near Valley WA may seem like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are various important additional factors to check out 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, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Valley WA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex 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 provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Valley WA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive 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 job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after achieving 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 acquired 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 make sure to check with the Washington board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are essentially two scholastic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more extensive 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 Washington approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum properly 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 have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at Valley WA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program 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 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 training required and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for Washington or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Valley WA or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Washington and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Valley WA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Washington or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Washington school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Valley WA 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 looking at 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 Valley WA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Valley WA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some Valley WA students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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. And so if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Valley WA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Valley Washington 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.
Maple Valley, Washington
The area was settled in 1879 by three men who were improving a trail and brought their families in. When a name for a future community was proposed, the names Vine Maple Valley and Maple Ridge were suggested. A vote was taken by writing the names on slips of paper and placing them in a hat. Vine Maple Valley won by 2/3, but the word "Vine" was later cut by the post office because it made the name too long.
The town's early history mainly had to do with coal, lumber milling to build homes, and a railroad that ran through town. Coal was brought in from Black Diamond to the south, but the town itself also mined coal from Cedar Mountain. The mine was used as late as 1947. Rail workers for lines like the Northern Pacific Railroad and the Cedar River Watershed, closed off by the City of Seattle, meant more workers for those things. More residents meant more lumber milling. More lumber milling meant more workers. Suquamish tribe chairperson Martha George was born near Maple Valley in Sheridan in 1892, at a logging camp where her mother and grandmother worked as cooks."
The town grew inward. Blacksmith shops, hotels, saloons and stores took up the town in the 1910s and 1920s. Schools went up as well. Early schools were shacks at best. A two-room school went up in 1910, but a larger school was quickly needed. Tahoma High School, a three-story brick building, went up in 1920. Students made up the name by combining the first two letters in the town names Taylor, Hobart and Maple Valley. The school still serves the Tahoma School District as an elementary school.
Select the Right Nursing Program near Valley WA
Choosing the right registered nursing college is potentially the most important phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are various factors that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is important that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick 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 licensed registered nurse in Valley WA.
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