How to Pick a Nursing Program in Auburn Maine
Selecting the right nursing college near Auburn ME may feel like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are several key additional aspects to explore before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Auburn ME medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to 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
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Auburn ME, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse in Auburn ME. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by Maine community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Maine colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 usually a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Auburn ME or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Maine board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are principally two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Auburn ME. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it should be Maine approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many 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 Auburn ME area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of training mandated and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for Maine to make sure that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more favored way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Maine. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Auburn ME home, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Maine and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school relative to Auburn ME and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Auburn ME.
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) along 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 Auburn ME area school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Maine or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Maine school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Auburn ME 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 schools you are looking at 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Auburn ME medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Auburn ME area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Degree near Auburn ME
Choosing the ideal registered nursing college is perhaps the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many factors that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Auburn ME.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters frequently ask nursing prospects is "What made you decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a nurse, but additionally what attributes and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, in addition to a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must organize a number of approaches about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the best candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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