How to Choose a Nursing College near Rock Springs Wyoming
Finding the best nursing college near Rock Springs WY may feel like a complicated undertaking, especially if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the most reliable way to choose a nursing college. There are many key additional considerations to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different Rock Springs WY medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse. And 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 six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Rock Springs WY area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by Wyoming community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Wyoming colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 normally a 2 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.
When a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Wyoming board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for many Rock Springs WY students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of 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 household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges in the Rock Springs WY area and throughout Wyoming and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans in Rock Springs WY, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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. Some 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 attending not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Wyoming or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Wyoming school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Rock Springs WY 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 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 displeased 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 Rock Springs WY healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Rock Springs WY hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near Rock Springs WY?
Rock Springs, Wyoming
Rock Springs is a city in Sweetwater County, Wyoming, United States. The population was 23,036 at the 2010 census, making it the 5th most populated city in the state of Wyoming. Rock Springs is the principal city of the Rock Springs micropolitan statistical area, which has a population of 37,975. Rock Springs is known as the Home of 56 Nationalities because of the influx of immigrants from all over the world who came to work in the coal mines that supplied the fuel to power the steam engines of the Union Pacific Railroad. The city's rich cultural heritage is celebrated each summer on International Day, a festival where the foods, costumes, and traditions of residents' ancestors are recreated and enjoyed at Bunning Park in downtown Rock Springs.
One of the worst incidents of anti-immigrant violence in American history, known as the Rock Springs Massacre, occurred among miners working near Rock Springs on September 2, 1885. There are still remains of the old coal mining towns outside of Rock Springs.
Rock Springs was featured on 60 Minutes in 1977 due to corruption within the Police Department and City Government. The Grand Jury was called into session. The Sheriff, James Stark of Sweetwater County testified and no wrongdoing was ever found. A follow up was filmed 20 years later for the show City Confidential. The episode was named "Rock Springs: Deadly Draw in the Wild West".
Choose the Right RN College near Rock Springs WY
Enrolling in the right registered nursing school is arguably the most important phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous factors that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this content, 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 develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Rock Springs WY.
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