How to Choose the Best Nursing Program near Westcliffe Colorado
Finding the best nursing program near Westcliffe CO may feel like a complex undertaking, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you 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 college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are many crucial additional aspects to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.
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Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Westcliffe CO area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to check with the Colorado board of nursing for any state mandates.
Why Enter the Nursing Profession?
Nurses are an integral part of a Westcliffe CO medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, among the most meaningful are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often go into the profession out of a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the medical profession, rather than the research or analytical related facets, is attractive to many who elect to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work settings, including nursing homes, doctor’s offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While most nurses deliver primary patient care, others choose to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Westcliffe CO hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Westcliffe CO students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous 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 family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Westcliffe CO or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Colorado and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- 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 organization. Besides helping verify that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Westcliffe CO for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with 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 delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Colorado or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Colorado school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Westcliffe CO healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Westcliffe CO medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Westcliffe CO hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Online Nursing Schools Westcliffe Colorado
Enrolling in the ideal nursing college is probably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many factors that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. You originally came to this website due to your interest in Online Nursing Schools and wanting more information on the topic Weekend Nursing Courses.. However, by using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Westcliffe CO.
More Colorado Nursing Locations
Westcliffe is located west of the geographic center of Custer County at 38°7′58″N 105°27′57″W / 38.13278°N 105.46583°W / 38.13278; -105.46583 (38.132874, -105.465920). It lies in the Wet Mountain Valley, between the Wet Mountains to the east and the Sangre de Cristo Range to the west. The town of Silver Cliff is immediately to the east of Westcliffe.
Westcliffe, and neighboring Silver Cliff, Colorado are recognized as IDA International Dark Sky Communities by The International Dark-Sky Association. Gentle persuasion has resulted in residents and business in the towns and surrounding ranch land reducing the amount of light pollution.
Locals have set up a free observatory in an old period building with a "roll-off" roof to open up the 14-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with computer-guided pointing and tracking to the skies overhead. Named the Smokey Jack Observatory, it was built in 2015.
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