How to Find the Best Nursing Degree Program near Valley City North Dakota
Finding the best nursing school near Valley City ND may feel like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order 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 final selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of key additional factors to check out before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Valley City ND hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to help 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 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
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced 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 basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing School Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees available to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Valley City ND area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a four 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 desire to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two 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.
Once a graduating student has attained 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. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the North Dakota board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend school for many Valley City ND students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Become a Nurse?Nurses are an integral part of a Valley City ND medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, the most significant are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly choose the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This human aspect of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work settings, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses provide direct patient care, others elect to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Courses
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Valley City ND or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within North Dakota and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up 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. Besides helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools. Also, many Valley City ND area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ 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. Many 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 delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for North Dakota or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the North Dakota school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Valley City ND 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 colleges 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Valley City ND healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Valley City ND hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best North Dakota RN Program
Enrolling in the right nursing college is arguably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this content, it is essential that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist 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 drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Valley City North Dakota.