How to Pick a Nursing Program near Windsor Colorado
Choosing the best nursing school near Windsor CO may seem like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your home is probably not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional things to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different Windsor CO medical environments, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Windsor CO area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by Colorado community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Colorado 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 might desire 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 commonly a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has obtained 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 vary from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Colorado board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for some Windsor CO students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, 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 options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges in the Windsor CO area and throughout Colorado and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.
- 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 agency. Besides helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans in Windsor CO, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Colorado or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Colorado school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Windsor 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 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Windsor CO medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Windsor CO hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near Windsor CO?
The Town of Windsor is a Home Rule Municipality in Larimer and Weld counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. According to June 2016 estimates, the population of the town was 24,500. Windsor is located in the region known as Northern Colorado. Windsor is situated 59 miles (95 km) north of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver.
In 1873, a settler named J.L. Hilton built a small house situated half-way between Greeley and Fort Collins. The “half-way” house, as it became known, directed travelers along a route, which was soon adopted by the Greeley, Salt Lake and Pacific railway. The railroad brought investors and farmers to Windsor in increasing numbers. Windsor’s rich alluvial plains lent themselves to extensive wheat production and the establishment of one of the town’s first commercial enterprises, a flour mill, which through a subsequent fire in 1899, was rebuilt and became the Windsor Milling and Elevator Company.
A rich wheat farming district, the area around Windsor first drew permanent residents in the early 1870s. Two factors were to play a critical role in stimulating Windsor's early development: irrigation and the railroad. Irrigation increased crop variety and production and the railroad shipped this bounty to market. The town was platted in 1882, the same year the Windsor Railroad Depot was built, and incorporated in 1890. It was named for the Rev. Samuel Asa Windsor. By 1900, tariffs on foreign sugar had created a market for new sources of sugar. Research in the improved cultivation of sugar beets was taking place at Colorado Agricultural College in Fort Collins, and the capital to advance production and manufacture of beet sugar was coming together. In 1903 a factory for producing sugar from sugar beets was built in Windsor. Sugar beet cultivation required large numbers of "stoop laborers," a need that was met by ethnic German immigrants from Russia. With large families and a strong work ethic, the German-Russians who settled in Windsor and other sugar beet areas would achieve financial success within one generation and own the highest producing beet farms. The Great Western Sugar Company fueled Windsor's economy through the mid-1960s, when the Windsor factory closed. Plentiful water and land drew Kodak to Windsor where it opened a manufacturing plant on the heels of the sugar factory's closing.
Select the Right RN Degree near Windsor CO
Selecting the ideal registered nursing degree program is potentially the most critical phase to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are many factors that you should think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Windsor CO.
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