How To Become A Nurse In Pennsylvania

If you live in Pennsylvania and want to become a nurse, it requires two to four years of education, depending on your goal of becoming an LPN or RN. The most important thing to make sure is no matter what type of nursing you want to specialize in; you attend a school that is accredited by the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing. To find out whether a school is accredited by the state or not, you can inquire with the school or you can visit the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing website and inquire with them. In the State of Pennsylvania, there are three levels of nursing education, the LPN, the ADN and the BSN. The differences between them are more than just the amount of time you spend in school. The following explains how to go about obtaining the education to attain you chosen degree and how to become licensed in Pennsylvania.

LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse)

LPN, or Licensed Practical Nurse, usually requires between 12 and 18 months of schooling. In order to become and LPN, you must attend and complete successfully, a state approved Practical Nurse training program. You can usually find an LPN program offered at local community colleges, vocational schools or technical schools. Once you complete your training successfully, you will be able to sit for the NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses), to attain your license. You will be tested in four areas: Safe Effective Care Environment, Health Promotion and Maintenance, Psychological Integrity and Physiological Integrity. In order to successfully attain you license you must pass sections at a set level of competence.

LPN’s have a much narrower scope of practice than any other nursing degree. Each state has some of their own regulations, but for the most part, it is the same across the country. Being an LPN restricts you to providing basic patient care, contributing to the planning, implementation of evaluation of patient care, and after additional training, administer medicine. An LPN is not permitted to administer any IV (intravenous) medications without additional training provided by the State Board of Nursing. Once you pass the additional training, you will only be limited to provide IV therapy under the supervision of an RN, are limited to basic re-hydrating fluid IVs, and compounded antibiotic IV administration.

RN (Registered Nurse)

If you are financially able to pursue more years of education towards a higher nursing degree, you have two options; the Associate Degree (ADN) or the Bachelor’s Degree (BSN). These degrees require between two and four years of education. Again, you want to be sure that you are finding a school that is accredited by the state board of nursing. You can enroll in an advance nursing degree program at almost any institution of secondary education. In some areas, nursing programs are also offered by larger local hospitals in conjunction with a local college. To become license as a nurse in Pennsylvania, you will need to take the exams given by the State Board of Nursing. For an RN, ADN or BSN, you will take the NCLEX-RN. You will be tested on the same four areas as the test for an LPN, but they will be geared to your increased level of education.

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

When deciding whether to attain an ADN or a BSN, you must consider the differences between the two. An ADN requires less time in school, which leads to less expense, which can be especially helpful if you are not working while you are attaining your degree. Having an Associate’s degree will provide a general overview of nursing and will allow you to work in general nursing, with a much larger scope of practice than an LPN. It also allows you to enter the field, and continue your education to become an RN. If you become employed as a hospital as an LPN, in most cases you can receive tuition assistance as well. You can work as an LPN, and if you find a specialty you are interested in, you can get you Bachelor’s degree focusing on that particular area. The BSN is more intense than the ADN program and can allow you to go into a specialty or even work in the nursing management capacity.

No matter what type of degree you choose, you will be required to take CE (continuing education) courses throughout the year and maintain a certain number of credits to keep your nursing license current. You also need to renew your license every two years. CE’s in most cases are offered as an online program so you can take them when it is convenient for you.

Nursing Schools in Pennsylvania

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  • B.S. in Nursing (Registered Nurse - R.N. to B.S.N)

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While the LPN program is offered at a majority of technical schools, vocational schools and community colleges in Pennsylvania, the following schools are based on those attending for an ADN or BSN.

Nursing School Locations

Drexel University
College of Nursing and Health Professions
Center City Hahnemann Campus
1505 Race Street, Philadelphia PA 19102.
Ph: 215.762.8288

Northeastern Hospital School of Nursing
Helene Fuld Building
2301 E. Allegheny Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19134.
Ph: 215.926.3172

Roxborough Memorial Hospital School of Nursing
5800 Ridge Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19128.
Ph: 215.483.9900

Duquesne University
600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15282.
Ph: 412.396.6000

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Shadyside School of Nursing
5230 Centre Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15232.
Ph: 412.623.2950

Pennsylvania Institute of Technology
800 Manchester Avenue
Media, PA 19063
Ph: 1.800.422.0025

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