How to Choose a Nursing College near Wisconsin Rapids Wisconsin
Finding the best nursing program near Wisconsin Rapids WI may seem like a formidable undertaking, particularly 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 need to obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional considerations to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Wisconsin Rapids WI hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to assist 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 few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Wisconsin Rapids WI area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally 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 might 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 normally a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has acquired 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 Wisconsin board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are basically two scholastic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, normally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be Wisconsin approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at Wisconsin Rapids WI area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for Wisconsin or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain 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.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Wisconsin Rapids WI or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Wisconsin and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Wisconsin Rapids WI for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Wisconsin or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Wisconsin school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Wisconsin Rapids WI 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 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Wisconsin Rapids WI healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire 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. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Wisconsin Rapids WI hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out 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 classes for many Wisconsin Rapids WI students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. 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 job and family commitments 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.
Attending a Nursing School near Wisconsin Rapids WI?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Wisconsin Rapids Wisconsin 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.
Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin
According to the 2010 census, the Wisconsin Rapids micropolitan area was home to 54,362 people. The city also forms one of the core areas of the United States Census Bureau's Marshfield-Wisconsin Rapids Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Wood County (2000 population: 75,555).
The American Indians called the area "Ahdawagam", meaning "Two-sided Rapids". Although Europeans began to settle this area in the 1830s, Wisconsin Rapids has been known by this name only since 1920. Prior to that, the community was divided by the Wisconsin River, with the west side incorporated as Centralia and the east side as Grand Rapids. The two cities merged in 1900, with the entire community taking the name Grand Rapids. The name was changed in 1920 to avoid mail and other goods from being misdirected to the much better known Grand Rapids, Michigan.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.67 square miles (38.00 km2), of which 13.82 square miles (35.79 km2) is land and 0.85 square miles (2.20 km2) is water.
Pick the Right Nursing School near Wisconsin Rapids WI
Picking the ideal registered nursing program is potentially the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are many variables that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Wisconsin Rapids WI.
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