Choosing an RN Program in Nevada
A prospective Nevada RN may enroll in a professional nursing program at either the associate (ADN) or baccalaureate (BSN) level.
The Board provides a list of approved programs (http://nevadanursingboard.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/nursingprograms.pdf). There are quite a few options. The following are factors to consider.
RN Program Accreditation in NV
Students should make sure, at the minimum, that their school is approved. National accreditation is a separate process from state approval. Some, but not all, states require programs approved within their borders to seek accreditation through a recognized third party organization; this assures that they have met a rigorous set of standards.
Nevada requires programs to achieve national accreditation before they can receive full approval. Programs that have provisional approval are relatively new and may not yet have achieved accreditation.
Articulation Between Programs
Nevada does not have a statewide articulation agreement governing transfer of credits from lower level nursing programs to higher ones. However, individual schools may have such agreements. Graduates of accredited programs are at an advantage nationwide when it comes to getting credit for prior nursing coursework.
Graduates of professional nursing programs must pass the NCLEX-RN before they can be licensed. Prospective students may want to consider pas rates of schools they are considering (http://nevadanursingboard.org/education-and-continuing-education/approved-nursing-programs/). The Nevada Board makes four years of testing data available. Interested individuals can see both the first time pass rate and the pass rate of repeat test takers. Schools that repeatedly post low rates may be closed.
A student who is considering enrolling in an out-of-state school may check to see that the school has been approved to supervise clinical rotations in Nevada. Currently, there are a couple schools that have been approved; they are located in neighboring states (http://nevadanursingboard.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/nursingprograms.pdf).
The good news is that prospective Nevada nursing students can be admitted to programs without being placed on wait lists. The do, however, have to be strong candidates. Admission policies vary from program to program. A test is generally required. This is often the TEAS, but can be the HESI.
Grades are often given a good deal of weight, though both the minimum GPA and the average GPA can vary by program. Programs may carry out interviews. Community colleges may give preference to residents of their county and sometimes to residents of neighboring counties as well. A point system is often used. In some cases, a lottery may be utilized, for example, to determine which out-of-district applicants will be granted a spot.
Prospective students may attend information or advising sessions to learn how to make themselves competitive.
Programs and Facilities in Nevada
Some schools offer many opportunities for professional involvement and leadership. There may be professional organizations, honor societies, and/ or volunteer opportunities. Such opportunities are often greater at the baccalaureate level.
Programs may also stand out because of their facilities and equipment. Some nursing schools tout their state of the art simulation laboratories.
Classes may be held full- or part-time, either on a traditional school calendar or on a fast-track schedule that includes year-round courses. Some programs conduct class work online. The student can still expect to do clinical work out in the community.
Nursing schools often boast a number of in-house scholarship opportunities. Nursing students are also eligible for traditional financial aid like the Pell Grant.
A few Nevada nursing programs are WIA-approved (http://detr.state.nv.us/worforce_investment_pages/TrainingProviders/Medical.pdf). Individuals who need assistance re-entering the workforce may qualify.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports $77,870 as the average salary for Nevada RNs. RNS have widely varying levels of education and experience, so a new graduate will generally start at a lower salary. However, even RNs at the 10th percentile make $57,900.
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