How to Choose a Nursing Program in Willington Connecticut
Selecting the right nursing program near Willington CT may feel like a formidable project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are a number of key additional considerations to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Willington CT healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Willington CT, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse in Willington CT. And 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 advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by Connecticut community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Connecticut 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 advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Willington CT or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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 fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Connecticut board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are basically two scholastic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Willington CT. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more extensive 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 Connecticut approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of 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 education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Willington CT area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction mandated and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for Connecticut to make sure that the training course 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 Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to receive training and attain a nursing degree in Connecticut. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Willington CT home, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Connecticut and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school relative to Willington CT and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Willington CT.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Willington CT area school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Connecticut or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, 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 nearby Willington 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 schools you are looking at 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Willington CT medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Willington CT area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right RN College near Willington CT
Selecting the right registered nursing college is arguably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous aspects that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 Willington CT.
Why Did You Decide to Become an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's important to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask nursing prospects is "What made you select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the private reasons you may have for being a registered nurse, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize some approaches about how you want to respond to them. Because there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing 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 ideal choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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