How to Choose a Nursing College in Framingham Massachusetts
Searching for the best nursing college near Framingham MA may seem like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are several 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 discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Framingham MA medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced 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 deliver primary or specialty care services in Framingham MA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse in Framingham MA. And in order 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 obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by Massachusetts community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Massachusetts colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Framingham MA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Massachusetts board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are basically two academic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Framingham MA. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it should be Massachusetts approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Framingham MA area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for Massachusetts to make certain that the training course is state approved. 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 requirements as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more popular way to get training and acquire a nursing degree in Massachusetts. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Framingham MA home, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend school for some 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 may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Massachusetts and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school relative to Framingham MA and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors 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 pick compares 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Framingham MA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as 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 important that the Framingham MA area school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Massachusetts or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the Massachusetts school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Framingham 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 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Framingham MA medical 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 Framingham MA area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Degree near Framingham MA
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing program is perhaps the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many aspects that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist 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 registered nurse in Framingham MA.
Why Did You Want to Become a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters often ask nursing prospects is "What compelled you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a RN, but also what attributes and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should organize several strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the leading candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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