How to Choose a Nursing School near Vinton Louisiana
Choosing the best nursing college near Vinton LA may seem like a challenging undertaking, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is closest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of important additional things to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Vinton LA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing 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 responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally 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 Degree Options
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order 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 advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Vinton LA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 generally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to check with the Louisiana board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest amount of time, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it needs to be Louisiana approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at Vinton LA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training required and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for Louisiana or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for many Vinton LA students. Regarding tuition, many 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 family commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Vinton LA or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Louisiana and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Vinton LA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Louisiana or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Louisiana school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Vinton LA 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 programs 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 dissatisfied 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 superb reputation within the Vinton LA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Vinton LA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Vinton LA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Vinton Louisiana 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.
The Old Spanish Trail, which was neither old nor Spanish, wandered north and south of what is now U.S. Highway 90, in large part because of the unstable roadbed. The chief means of outside travel in the parish relied on riverboats plying the Sabine and Calcasieu rivers. Much of the marsh and bayous remained impassable. River travel made Lake Charles possible, just as mining for sulfur led to the founding of Sulphur. Settlers had long been in the Vinton area.
The area had few settlers because France, New Spain, and Mexico disputed the western boundary of Louisiana for many years. When the United States made the Louisiana Purchase, the disputed area was inherited. Spanish Lt. Col. Simón de Herrera and U.S. General James Wilkinson signed an agreement designating the area as neutral ground, also known as the Neutral Strip. The agreement was not a treaty and not ratified by either government, but it was respected by both countries. The area, sometimes referred to as the Rio Hondo Territory, was off limits to the military of both countries, and settlers were not to be allowed, but that did not stop squatters from both countries.
There had been numerous attempts to improve transportation throughout the 19th century. In the 1830s, on the nearby Sabine River, Dr. Robert Neblett developed a bluff into a thriving river port, which became known as Niblett's Bluff (sic) 6 miles (10 km) west of the present-day town. Confederate soldiers in 1863 cut a military road extending from Niblett's Bluff on the Sabine River to Alexandria. Although the road never developed into a major artery, during the American Civil War, Niblett's Bluff became Fort Niblett, which assisted the Confederate success in the Battle of Mansfield. Fort Niblett continues to be commemorated as part of Niblett's Bluff Park, supported by local taxes.
Select the Right Nursing College near Vinton LA
Deciding on the ideal nursing school is potentially the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous factors that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this content, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Vinton LA.
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