How to Pick an Accredited Nursing School near Lakeland Florida
Choosing the right nursing college near Lakeland FL may feel like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is closest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are various important additional considerations to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first go over the nursing degree choices that are available together with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.
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Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Lakeland FL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a two 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 attained 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. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Florida board of nursing for any state mandates.
Why Choose the Nursing Profession?
Nurses are an important component of a Lakeland FL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, the most notable are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly go into the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the health profession, rather than the research or analytical related elements, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work environments, such as home care facilities, doctor’s offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses provide personal patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Lakeland FL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher 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 administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for many Lakeland FL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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. Therefore if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Lakeland FL or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Florida and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. 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 pick compares 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Lakeland FL 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Florida or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, check with the Florida school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Lakeland FL 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Lakeland FL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Lakeland FL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Becoming A Registered Nurse Lakeland Florida
Selecting the ideal nursing school is probably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many variables that you must think about when selecting a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this content, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. You originally came to this website due to your interest in Becoming A Registered Nurse and wanting more information on the topic College For Nursing.. However, by using our list 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 right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Lakeland FL.
More Florida Nursing Locations
Lakeland is a city in Polk County, Florida, along Interstate 4 east of Tampa. The westernmost city in Polk County, it is part of the Tampa Bay Area. According to the 2018 U.S. Census Bureau estimate, the city had a population of 110,516. Lakeland is a principal city of the Lakeland–Winter Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Native Americans lived in the area from soon after the end of the last ice age until the end of the Second Seminole War. European-American settlers arrived in Lakeland from South Carolina in the 1870s. The city expanded in the 1880s with the arrival of rail service, with the first freedmen railway workers settling here in 1883. They and European immigrants also came because of new jobs in the large phosphate industry that developed. Lakeland is home to the 1,267-acre Circle B Bar Reserve.
The first Paleo-Indians reached the central Florida area near the end of the last ice age, as they followed big game south. As the ice melted and sea levels rose, these Native Americans ended up staying and thrived on the peninsula for thousands of years. By the time the first Spanish conquistadors arrived, an estimated 350,000 Native Americans were living in what is now the state of Florida. Some of these first early tribes were the Tocobago, Timucua, and Calusa. In 1527, a Spanish map showed a settlement near the Rio de la Paz. The arrival of the Spanish turned out to be disastrous to these Native American tribes. Within 150 years, the majority of the pre-Columbian Native American peoples of Florida had been wiped out. Those who had not succumbed to diseases such as smallpox or yellow fever were either killed or enslaved. Little is left of these first Native Americans cultures in Polk County except for scant archaeological records, including a few personal artifacts and shell mounds. Eventually, the remnants of these tribes merged with the Creek Indians who had arrived from the north and became the Seminole Indian tribe.
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