How to Enroll In the Best RN Degree Program near West Fargo North Dakota
Choosing the best nursing school near West Fargo ND may seem like a challenging project, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are a number of key additional things to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are available together with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely West Fargo ND hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, 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 duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly 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 School Degrees
There are multiple degrees available to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the West Fargo 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 position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four 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 want to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally 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.
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) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the North Dakota board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for some West Fargo ND students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family obligations 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 easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Why Become a Nurse?Nurses are an indispensable component of a West Fargo ND medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, the most notable are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often choose the profession due to a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This human side of the medical profession, rather than the analytical or research related facets, is attractive to many who elect to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses provide personal patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near West Fargo ND or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout North Dakota and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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 organization. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools. Also, many West Fargo ND area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for North Dakota or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, check with the North Dakota school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some West Fargo ND 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 looking at 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 unhappy 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 West Fargo ND healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with West Fargo ND hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right North Dakota RN School
Picking the ideal nursing school is probably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are many aspects that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in West Fargo North Dakota.