How to Pick a Nursing College near West Point Virginia
Selecting the best nursing school near West Point VA may seem like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regretably, too many potential students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the best way to pick a nursing college. There are a number of key additional considerations to check out before you make a decision 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, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different West Point VA medical settings, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to support 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. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the West Point VA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Virginia community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Virginia 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 want to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Virginia board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for some West Point VA students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many 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 household obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Courses
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges in the West Point VA area and throughout Virginia and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans in West Point VA, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Virginia or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Virginia school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some West Point VA 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 colleges you are considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied 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 good reputation within the West Point VA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with West Point VA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near West Point VA?
West Point, Virginia
West Point is located at 37°32′37″N 76°48′19″W / 37.54361°N 76.80528°W / 37.54361; -76.80528 (37.543733, −76.805366). The York River is formed at West Point by the confluence of the Mattaponi and Pamunkey rivers; from there, it separates the Virginia Peninsula and Middle Peninsula regions of eastern Virginia as it flows approximately 40 miles to the Chesapeake Bay.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 6.7 square miles (17.2 km²), of which, 5.2 square miles (13.3 km²) of it is land and 1.5 square miles (4.0 km²) of it (23.12%) is water.
The current site of West Point was once the site of Cinquoteck, a Native American village of the local Mattaponi, an Algonquian-speaking tribe affiliated with the Powhatan Confederacy. During the first half of the 17th century, the Confederacy and the English colonists who established their first permanent settlement at Jamestown in 1607 were frequently in conflict. By mid-century, the Natives had been largely overcome, including the area of Cinquoteck, by the ever-expanding Colony of Virginia.
Choose the Right RN Program near West Point VA
Enrolling in the right registered nursing program is potentially the most critical first step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous variables that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this post, it is important that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in West Point VA.
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