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How to Pick the Best Nursing School near Williston North Dakota

Williston North Dakota RN examining patient with stethoscopeSelecting the right nursing school near Williston ND may feel like a complex project, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are many essential additional aspects to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are available together with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Williston North Dakota nurse taking vital signs of senior woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Williston ND hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Managing 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 commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degree Options

There are multiple degrees to choose from 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 obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Williston ND area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve 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 qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish to advance 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 normally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate 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 change from state to state, so don't forget to check with the North Dakota board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Schools

Williston North Dakota Nurse holding medical chartAttending nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some Williston ND students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an indispensable component of a Williston ND medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often go into the profession out of a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the healthcare profession, rather than the analytical or research related facets, is appealing to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a variety of work settings, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses deliver direct patient care, others opt to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Schools

Nurse reading with Williston North Dakota nursing home patientNow that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Williston ND or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout North Dakota and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably 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 prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.

  • 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 verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Williston 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for North Dakota or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the North Dakota school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Williston 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Williston ND medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Williston ND hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Find Out More About Enrolling in Nursing Degree Programs in Williston

Enroll in the Best North Dakota RN Program

Enrolling in the right nursing degree program is arguably the most important step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are various aspects that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Williston North Dakota.


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