How to Pick the Right RN Degree Program near Washington District of Columbia
Finding the right nursing college near Washington DC may feel like a complex project, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional considerations to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first review the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.
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Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees offered to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Washington DC area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at 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 wish to progress 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 normally a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the District of Columbia board of nursing for any state mandates.
Why Choose the Nursing Profession?
Nurses are an essential component of a Washington DC medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently choose the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related elements, is attractive to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work settings, including nursing homes, doctor’s offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses provide direct patient care, others opt to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Washington DC hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some Washington DC students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Washington DC or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within District of Columbia and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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 agency. Besides helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Washington DC for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with 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 important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for District of Columbia or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the District of Columbia school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Washington DC 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 colleges 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Washington DC medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Washington DC hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Top Nursing Programs Online Washington District of Columbia
Picking the right nursing school is arguably the most critical phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are a number of variables that you should take into account when selecting a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this content, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. You originally came to this website due to your interest in Top Nursing Programs Online and wanting more information on the topic Accelerated Nursing Training Online.. However, by using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Washington DC.
More District of Columbia Nursing Locations
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, the first president of the United States and a Founding Father. As the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, Washington is an important world political capital. The city, located on the Potomac River bordering Maryland and Virginia, is one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually.
The signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River on the country's East Coast. The U.S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the U.S. Congress, and the District is therefore not a part of any U.S. state. The states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district, which included the pre-existing settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria. The City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the new national capital. In 1846, Congress returned the land originally ceded by Virginia; in 1871, it created a single municipal government for the remaining portion of the District.
Washington had an estimated population of 702,455 as of July 2018[update], making it the 20th most populous city in the United States. Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the city's daytime population to more than one million during the workweek. Washington's metropolitan area, the country's sixth largest, had a 2017 estimated population of 6.2 million residents.
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