How to Select a Nursing Program in Charlemont Massachusetts
Selecting the best nursing college near Charlemont MA may seem like a complicated endeavor, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many essential additional considerations to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Charlemont MA medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced 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 Charlemont MA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse in Charlemont MA. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain 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 brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by Massachusetts community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Massachusetts colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 usually a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Charlemont MA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Massachusetts board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are essentially two academic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Charlemont MA. The one that can be completed in the shortest time period, generally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it should be Massachusetts approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study 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 have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Charlemont MA area. The duration of the instruction 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 mandated to have 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 minimum period of instruction required and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Massachusetts to make certain that the training course is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and earn a nursing degree in Massachusetts. Some 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 facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Charlemont MA home, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Once you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Massachusetts and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school relative to Charlemont MA and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Charlemont MA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Charlemont MA area school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Massachusetts or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, contact the Massachusetts school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Charlemont MA 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 looking at 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 favorable reputation within the Charlemont MA 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 setting. Essentially all Charlemont MA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Degree near Charlemont MA
Enrolling in the right registered nursing degree program is arguably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is essential that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Charlemont MA.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's important to review questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters often ask nursing applicants is "What made you select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a registered nurse, but additionally what characteristics and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you must ready a number of approaches about how you want to answer them. Because there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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