How to Pick a Nursing Program in Lowell Michigan
Selecting the best nursing school near Lowell MI may feel like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is local to your house is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of key additional aspects to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Lowell MI healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping 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 commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Lowell MI, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Lowell MI. 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 six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by Michigan community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Michigan colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Lowell MI or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Michigan board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Lowell MI. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with 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 seek, it should be Michigan 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 adequately 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 earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Lowell MI area. The length of the training can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within 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 minimum amount of instruction required and each state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for Michigan to make certain that the training course is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more popular way to get training and acquire a nursing degree in Michigan. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Lowell MI home, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of 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 commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Michigan and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school relative to Lowell MI as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Lowell MI.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Lowell MI area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Michigan or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Michigan school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Lowell MI healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Lowell MI medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Lowell MI area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right RN School near Lowell MI
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing degree program is arguably the most critical phase to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of aspects that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Lowell MI.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. Among the things that hiring managers typically ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not only the private reasons you may have for being a nurse, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should organize several ideas about how you would like to address them. Since there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down several ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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