How to Choose a Nursing Program near Sheridan Montana
Selecting the best nursing school near Sheridan MT may seem like a complex endeavor, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least expensive college or the one that is local to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to choose a nursing college. There are a number of important additional aspects to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different Sheridan MT medical settings, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating 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), as an 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 basic illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Sheridan MT area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by Montana community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Montana colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after acquiring 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 received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Montana board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some Sheridan MT students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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. Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges in the Sheridan MT area and throughout Montana and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up 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 agency. Besides helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans in Sheridan MT, which are frequently 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Montana or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, contact the Montana school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Sheridan MT 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Sheridan MT healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Sheridan MT hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near Sheridan MT?
Sheridan is a town in Madison County, Montana, United States named after the Civil War general Philip Sheridan. The population was 642 at the 2010 census. Sheridan is known as the "heart of the Ruby Valley." Seven majestic mountain ranges surround this beautiful community. (Tobacco Root Range, Highlands Mountains, McCartney Mountain, The Pioneers, The Ruby Range, The Gravellies and the Snowcrest Range) The geology of the area includes some of the oldest rocks dating back over 2.7 billion years. The Ruby River winds through the valley just west of the town.
In an effort to promote the town - the community has formed a Main Street Improvement Team, provides for free Wi-Fi in town and has their own Web site where artists, businesses, and general information about the area can be found at their home page 
As of the census of 2010, there were 642 people, 306 households, and 174 families residing in the town. The population density was 629.4 inhabitants per square mile (243.0/km2). There were 376 housing units at an average density of 368.6 per square mile (142.3/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.3% White, 0.3% African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.1% of the population.
Select the Right RN Degree near Sheridan MT
Choosing the ideal registered nursing program is arguably the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are many variables that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Sheridan MT.
More Fabulous Cities in Montana