How to Pick a Nursing College in Penobscot Maine
Selecting the right nursing school near Penobscot ME may seem like a challenging project, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training 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. The fact is, too many future students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are several key additional considerations to look into before you decide 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 health system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Penobscot ME medical care 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 help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Penobscot ME, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse in Penobscot 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 advance 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 typically a 2 year program made available by Maine community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Maine colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 normally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Penobscot ME or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to check with the Maine board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Training
There are basically two academic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Penobscot ME. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be Maine approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Penobscot ME area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction directed and every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Maine to make certain 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 can be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and attain a nursing degree in Maine. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Penobscot ME home, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. 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 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, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with 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 no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Maine and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school relative to Penobscot ME along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Penobscot ME.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different 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. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Penobscot ME area school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Maine or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Maine school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Penobscot 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Penobscot ME healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Penobscot ME area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. 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 College near Penobscot ME
Choosing the ideal registered nursing college is potentially the most critical phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is important that you choose an RN school 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 produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Penobscot ME.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Registered Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters typically ask nursing prospects is "What compelled you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a RN, but also what characteristics and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare several approaches about how you want to answer them. Given that there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down some ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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