How to Choose a Nursing Program near Winona Minnesota
Selecting the right nursing college near Winona MN may seem like a complex project, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the most reliable way to choose a nursing school. There are various crucial additional considerations to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different Winona MN medical settings, such as 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 exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing 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), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Winona MN area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Minnesota community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Minnesota colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire to advance 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 two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained 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. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Minnesota board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for some Winona MN students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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. So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges in the Winona MN area and throughout Minnesota and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans in Winona MN, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to 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 important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Minnesota or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Minnesota school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Winona MN 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 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 good reputation within the Winona MN healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified 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 Winona MN hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near Winona MN?
Winona is a city in and the county seat of Winona County, in the state of Minnesota. Located in picturesque bluff country on the Mississippi River, its most noticeable physical landmark is Sugar Loaf. The city is named after legendary figure Winona, said to have been the first-born daughter of Chief Wapasha (Wabasha) III. The population was 27,592 at the 2010 census.
Non-Native Americans settled the area in 1851 and laid out the town into lots in 1852 and 1853. The original settlers were Yankee immigrants from New England. The population increased from 815 in December, 1855, to 3,000 in December, 1856. In 1856 German immigrants arrived as well. The Germans and the Yankees worked together planting trees and building businesses based on lumber, wheat, steamboating and railroads. Between 1859 and 1900, some 5,000 Poles and closely related Kashubians emigrated to Winona, making up one quarter of the population. Since 80% of them were Kashubians, Winona became known as the "Kashubian Capital of America." For a time, Winona had more millionaires than any other city of its size in the United States.
The railroad and steamboat transportation industries helped Winona grow into a small city that diversified into wheat milling, and lumber production. In 1856, over 1,300 steamboats stopped at Winona. The railway system grew and the Winona Railway Bridge, built of steel and iron with a steam-powered swingspan over the river, was the second railway bridge to span the Mississippi. The first train crossed on July 4, 1891 and the bridge served the Green Bay & Western (GBW) and Burlington Route for the next 94 years until it was closed in 1985 and dismantled in the fall of 1990. In 1892, a wagon toll-bridge over the Mississippi, a steel high-bridge, was completed and remained in service until 1942.
Enroll in the Right RN Course near Winona MN
Choosing the ideal registered nursing school is potentially the most critical step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of factors that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is critical that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Winona MN.
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