How To Become A Nurse In Minnesota

A career in nursing can be a stable one with longevity and many chances to learn daily. Careers in the health field are not just stable, there are usually many more available than there are people to fill them. If you choose to go to school to become a nurse, you have options to choose from depending on your career goals. Becoming an LPN or Licensed Practical Nurse takes a relatively short amount of time and is affordable for most people. Although you will only be allowed to provide basic nursing care, it gives you an opportunity to experience the nursing field. This is a good choice for people that have no experience in the medical field. Most community colleges, vocational and nursing schools offer training to become an LPN at an affordable cost and with relatively flexible school schedules. This allows you to continue working if you need to while you attend school. If you are already in the medical field and want to pursue a nursing career, you can choose to become an RN or Registered Nurse. Working as an RN requires either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing. Which one you choose again depends on your ability to pay for and attend school as well as your career goals. An RN with an associate’s degree can provide more involved nursing care than an LPN, as well as assess patients and use their nursing judgments in patient care. An RN with a bachelor’s degree has to ability to work in specialized areas of nursing such as Oncology or Geriatrics, and can work in other areas aside from patient care such as upper level nursing management.

No matter what level of nursing you decide to pursue, you want to make sure that the school is accredited by the State of Minnesota Board of Nursing. The Board of Nursing is responsible for ensuring that all nursing schools provide a curriculum that enables their graduates to pass the state licensing exams. To work as a licensed LPN in Minnesota, you must pass the NCLEX-PN or National Council Licensure Exam for Practical Nurses. To work as a licensed RN, you must take and pass the NCLEX-RN or National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses. These exams are given by the Minnesota Board of Nursing and consist of four sections that must be passed individually in order to pass the exam and become licensed.

LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse)

For those that have never worked in a medical setting, becoming an LPN is a great way to start. Becoming an LPN requires only 12 to 18 months of training and can be taken at an affordable community college, vocational or technical school. They also provide flexible schedules so if you need to work while you attend school, you still can. Nursing is a popular field, so do not be surprised if you are put on a waiting list to take your nurses courses when you apply for school. Take advantage of waiting period though, and make sure to get all your prerequisite classes completed. Most nursing programs will take those who have completed the most prerequisites with the highest GPA when there become openings in classes. Again, you want to make sure that the Minnesota Board of nursing accredits any nursing program you enroll in. You want to be sure that the curriculum is sufficient for you to be able to pass the NCLEX-PN.

While working as an LPN you are only able to provide basic patient care, it does allow you to get experience in the medical field. This gives you the opportunity to decide whether the nursing field is something you want to make a career, or if it is something that is not for you. Do not feel bad if you find that being a nurse is not for you, it can sometimes be a challenging field that not all people are cut out for. Your scope of practice, or care you are legally allowed to provide, is very small as an LPN, but you can add additional skills to pass medication or start IV (intravenous) lines and provide IV therapy with additional training. If you work in a facility that provides tuition assistance, you can also return to school to attain a higher nursing degree with the financial assistance they can provide. This not only helps you but it also helps the facility to promote from within saving money over hiring from the outside.

RN (Registered Nurse)

If you are already and LPN or work in the medical field, you can start your nursing career attaining your RN degree. While you still can choose between an associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree, you can make this decision based on your career goals and finances. If you want to work in general nursing or do not know if you want to work in a specialty or in nursing management, attaining your associate’s degree will allow you to work in the capacity of an RN and then decide if you want to further your nursing career. No matter what degree you decide on, you again want to be sure that the school is accredited by the Minnesota Board of Nursing to ensure you are gaining the required education you need to become licensed. You can enroll in a four-year college or university even if you are just attending to attain your associate’s degree, so if you decide in the future to move up to your bachelor’s degree, you can attend the same school. Some larger hospitals have their own Schools of Nursing, but usually they are very limited in the amount of people they accept and their requirements are usually much higher than a college or university. While they are sometimes difficult to enter, if you do attend a hospital nursing school and pass successfully, you will have long-term employment in the facility. Once you complete your degree, whichever it may be, you must take the NCLEX-RN and successfully pass it to attain your nursing license to practice as an RN in Minnesota.

An RN with either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree has a much larger scope of practice than an RN, and in some facilities is actually responsible for supervising LPNs. Working as an RN requires that you provide more intensive nursing care as well as use your nursing judgment to assess patients and also help plan their care. Both degrees allow you to work in any area of nursing, but a bachelor’s degree will allow you to work in a specialized field or in nursing management.

Becoming an RN – Associate’s versus Bachelor’s degrees

As mentioned above, choosing between your associate’s and bachelor’s degree is a choice you should make based on your career goals and finances. If you want to work in general nursing only or are not sure whether you want to work in a specialty area or in management, you should start with your associate’s degree. If you are sure that you want to work in a specialty or in nursing management, you can get your bachelor’s degree to start. If you choose to only attain your associate’s and work in a facility that offers tuition assistance, if you decide you want to work in a specific area of nursing or work in nursing management, you have financial assistance to go back to school.

All nursing degrees require that you keep your skills and knowledge updates. This is done by taking classes throughout the year that provide you with CE or Continuing Education credits. The Minnesota Board of Nursing has a set number of these credits you must have each year in order to renew your license every two years and they will provide you the information you need. Depending on the size of the facility you work in, you may be able to take them on site, or they are also available online. These short courses update you on procedures, practices and other medically related topics.

Nursing Schools in Minnesota

While the LPN program is offered at a majority of technical schools, vocational schools and community colleges in Minnesota, the following schools are based on those attending for an RN degree of any level.

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    Nursing School Locations

    University of Minnesota Twin Cities
    School of Nursing
    6-101 Weaver- Densford Hall
    Minneapolis, MN 55455
    Phone Number: (612)624-9600

    College of St Catherine
    Department of Nursing
    2004 Randolph Ave.
    St. Paul, MN 55105
    Phone Number: (651)690-6000

    College of St Scholastica
    Department of Nursing
    1200 Kennwood Avenue
    Duluth, MN 55811-4199
    Phone Number: (800) 447-5444

    Minnesota State University Mankato
    School of Nursing
    College of Graduate Studies and Research
    Mankato, MN 56001
    Phone Number: (507) 389-6826

    Tri College University Nursing Consortium
    Graduate Nursing Department
    1104 S. Seventh Avenue
    Moorhead, MN 56563
    Phone Number: (218)477-4699

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