How to Choose a Nursing Program in Berwick Maine
Selecting the right nursing program near Berwick ME may seem like a complex endeavor, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training in order 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 ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are several key additional considerations to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Berwick ME medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced 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 administer primary or specialty care services in Berwick ME, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse in Berwick ME. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Maine community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Maine colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 generally a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Berwick ME or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After 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. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Maine board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two academic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Berwick ME. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides 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 kind of credential you seek, 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 effectively 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 need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Berwick ME area. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 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 instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Maine to make sure that the education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more in demand way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree in Maine. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Berwick ME home, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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 work and household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Courses
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Maine and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school relative to Berwick ME as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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. In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Berwick ME.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Berwick ME area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Maine or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Maine school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Berwick 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 colleges 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 favorable reputation within the Berwick ME medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Berwick ME area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Program near Berwick ME
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing program is perhaps the most crucial step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are numerous factors that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed within this article, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Berwick ME.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Registered Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. Among the things that interviewers typically ask nursing candidates is "What made you choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a RN, but additionally what qualities and talents you have that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare a number of approaches about how you would like to address them. Since there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an excellent nurse and the best candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down several ideas and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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