How to Find the Right Nursing College in Takoma Park Maryland
Searching for the right nursing program near Takoma Park MD may seem like a challenging endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are various key additional factors to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Takoma Park MD medical 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 support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing 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 higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Takoma Park MD, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse in Takoma Park MD. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by Maryland community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Maryland colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Takoma Park MD or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Maryland board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are principally two scholastic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Takoma Park MD. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second 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 benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be Maryland approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum properly 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 need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Takoma Park MD area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills 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 Maryland to make certain that the training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to get training and acquire a nursing degree in Maryland. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Takoma Park MD home, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of 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 easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Programs
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether 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 are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Maryland and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school relative to Takoma Park MD and the price of tuition are undoubtedly 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 choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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. Besides helping verify that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Takoma Park MD.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with 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 Takoma Park MD area school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Maryland or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Maryland school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Takoma Park MD 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 programs 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Takoma Park MD healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Takoma Park MD area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN School near Takoma Park MD
Selecting the ideal registered nursing college is arguably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous variables that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Takoma Park MD.
Why Did You Choose to Become an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to consider questions you could be asked. Among the things that hiring managers typically ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a RN, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to ready some strategies about how you want to respond to them. Since there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down a few ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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