How to Select a Nursing College in Wenham Massachusetts
Selecting the right nursing school near Wenham MA may feel like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is local to your residence is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are several essential additional considerations to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Wenham MA medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Wenham MA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse in Wenham MA. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by Massachusetts community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Massachusetts colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Wenham MA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Massachusetts board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two scholastic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Wenham MA. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Massachusetts approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Wenham MA area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and each state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Massachusetts to make certain that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Massachusetts. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Wenham MA home, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Courses
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Massachusetts and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school relative to Wenham MA along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
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 organization. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Wenham MA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Wenham MA area school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Massachusetts or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Massachusetts school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Wenham MA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Wenham MA 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 setting. Essentially all Wenham MA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN College near Wenham MA
Enrolling in the right registered nursing school is probably the most important step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of variables that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed in this post, it is important that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list 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 desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Wenham MA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Registered Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers frequently ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a RN, but additionally what qualities and skills you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should organize several ideas about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down some concepts and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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