How to Choose a Nursing Program near Valley Washington
Selecting the best nursing program near Valley WA may feel like a formidable undertaking, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your house is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional considerations to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different Valley WA medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role 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. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing 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), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option to choose from 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 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Valley WA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by Washington community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Washington colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Washington board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend college for many Valley WA students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges in the Valley WA area and throughout Washington and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 organization. Besides helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans in Valley WA, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Washington or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Washington school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Valley WA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Valley WA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Valley WA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near Valley WA?
Spokane Valley, Washington
Spokane Valley is a city in Spokane County, Washington, United States, and the largest suburb of Spokane. It is located east of Spokane, west of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and surrounds the town of Millwood on three sides. The city incorporated as the City of Spokane Valley on March 31, 2003. The Washington State Office of Financial Management estimates the city’s population as 94,919 as of 2015. Spokane Valley is named after the valley of the Spokane River, in which it is located. Before becoming an incorporated city, the area was and still is referred to as "The Valley" by residents of the Spokane Metro Area.
For thousands of years, the Spokane Valley area was populated by members of the Upper Band of the Interior Salish Indians, calling themselves “Sn-tutuul-i”, the meaning of which is not known. In about 1783, fur traders from the North West Company began traveling through the area. They called these Indians the “Spokanes” which has been interpreted as meaning “Children of the Sun.” The Spokanes were a peaceful people, on friendly terms with neighboring tribes and later the fur traders and missionaries who came to the area. They fished salmon, hunted game, and ate camassia roots and berries they gathered.
Despite their many years of acceptance of the white settlers, and the calming influence of Chief Garry (sometimes Spokan Garry), the Spokanes protested the loss of their lands by joining in the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The final battle, in 1858, culminated in the Spokane Valley with the destruction of over 800 of their horses, their food, and teepees. The Spokanes were eventually forced from the lands of their ancestors to a reservation north of the Spokane River, just west of the Spokane area.
Choose the Right RN College near Valley WA
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing degree program is arguably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of aspects that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this article, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Valley WA.
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