How to Choose a Nursing School in Wakefield Rhode Island
Selecting the best nursing college near Wakefield RI may seem like a complex project, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are various crucial additional factors to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Wakefield RI medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to support 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 portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Wakefield RI, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Wakefield RI. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by Rhode Island community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Rhode Island 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 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 generally a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Wakefield RI or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received 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. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Rhode Island board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two academic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Wakefield RI. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, normally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Rhode Island approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees 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.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Wakefield RI area. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training mandated and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for Rhode Island to make sure that the education 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 can be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to receive training and earn a nursing degree in Rhode Island. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Wakefield RI home, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Courses
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Rhode Island and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school relative to Wakefield RI and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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. Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Wakefield RI.
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 specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Wakefield RI area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Rhode Island or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Rhode Island school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Wakefield RI 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 programs you are looking at 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Wakefield RI healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Wakefield RI area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Degree near Wakefield RI
Choosing the ideal registered nursing program is perhaps the most important step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many variables that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Wakefield RI.
Why Did You Choose to Become an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you should prepare some approaches about how you want to answer them. Considering there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you along with the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down a few concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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