How to Find the Right Nursing Program in Belfast Maine
Searching for the right nursing school near Belfast ME may feel like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of important additional things to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Belfast ME healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Belfast ME, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in Belfast ME. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by Maine community colleges. It prepares 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 ultimately earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Maine colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Belfast ME or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Maine board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Belfast ME. The one that may be completed in the shortest period of time, typically about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind 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 guarantees that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Belfast ME area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction mandated and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Maine to make certain that the education is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to receive training and attain a nursing degree in Maine. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Belfast ME home, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even additional 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Maine and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school relative to Belfast ME and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
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 agency. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Belfast ME.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Belfast ME area school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Maine or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Maine school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Belfast ME healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools you are considering 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Belfast ME healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Belfast ME area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Degree near Belfast ME
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing college is arguably the most important phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are many aspects that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Belfast ME.
Why Did You Want to Become a Registered Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. One of the things that interviewers typically ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a nurse, but also what attributes and skills you possess that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you must ready a number of ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you along with the talents you have that make you an excellent nurse and the ideal choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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