How to Pick a Nursing College in Bristol Maine
Finding the right nursing program near Bristol ME may seem like a challenging undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary 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 final selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional aspects to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Bristol ME healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty 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 as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Bristol ME, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Bristol ME. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to attain 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 commonly a two year program made available by Maine community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Maine colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to advance 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 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Bristol ME or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained 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 change from state to state, so make sure to contact the Maine board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are generally two academic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Bristol ME. The one that can be finished in the shortest amount of time, generally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it should be Maine approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of 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 acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Bristol ME area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for Maine to make certain that the training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Maine. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Bristol ME home, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. 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. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Maine and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school relative to Bristol ME as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Bristol 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. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Bristol ME area school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Maine or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Maine school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Bristol ME healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 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 Bristol ME medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Bristol ME area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Program near Bristol ME
Deciding on the right registered nursing college is arguably the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding 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 pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Bristol ME.
Why Did You Choose to Be an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not merely the private reasons you may have for becoming a RN, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must organize a number of approaches about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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