How to Enroll In a Nursing Program in North Reading Massachusetts
Searching for the best nursing program near North Reading MA may seem like a complicated project, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are several essential additional things to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the North Reading MA medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in North Reading MA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse in North Reading MA. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by Massachusetts community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as 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) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Massachusetts colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 typically a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in North Reading MA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Massachusetts board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are principally two scholastic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in North Reading MA. The one that may be completed in the shortest period of time, normally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to attain 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, besides supplying a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it should be Massachusetts approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the North Reading MA area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training mandated and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for Massachusetts to make sure that the training course is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree in Massachusetts. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your North Reading MA home, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Massachusetts and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school relative to North Reading MA and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
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 organization. Besides helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near North Reading MA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the North Reading MA area school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Massachusetts or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Massachusetts school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local North Reading MA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges 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 good reputation within the North Reading MA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all North Reading MA area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN College near North Reading MA
Selecting the ideal registered nursing program is probably the most important phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in North Reading MA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Registered Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that interviewers typically ask nursing prospects is "What made you pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a registered nurse, but additionally what attributes and abilities you have that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must organize some approaches about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the best choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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