How to Choose a Nursing College in Ridgefield Connecticut
Locating the right nursing college near Ridgefield CT may feel like a formidable undertaking, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are many crucial additional considerations to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Ridgefield CT healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Ridgefield CT, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Ridgefield CT. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by Connecticut community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Connecticut colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Ridgefield CT or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Connecticut board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Training
There are principally two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Ridgefield CT. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Connecticut approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Ridgefield CT area. The length of the training program 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 receive 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 period of training mandated and 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 likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Connecticut to make certain that the training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more favored way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree in Connecticut. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Ridgefield CT home, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Connecticut and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school relative to Ridgefield CT as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
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 agency. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Ridgefield CT.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Ridgefield CT area school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Connecticut or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Connecticut school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Ridgefield CT 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 programs 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 displeased 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 good reputation within the Ridgefield CT medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Ridgefield CT area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN College near Ridgefield CT
Picking the ideal registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are numerous factors that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is essential that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Ridgefield CT.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's important to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask nursing prospects is "What made you select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a registered nurse, but also what characteristics and talents you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to prepare some ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down a few concepts and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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