How to Select a Nursing Program in Cape Elizabeth Maine
Finding the best nursing school near Cape Elizabeth ME may feel like a complex endeavor, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is local to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional factors to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Cape Elizabeth ME healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including hospitals, family 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 be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing 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), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Cape Elizabeth ME, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse in Cape Elizabeth ME. 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 earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by Maine community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Maine 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 desire 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 usually a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Cape Elizabeth ME or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Maine board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Training
There are basically two academic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Cape Elizabeth ME. The one that may be completed in the shortest period of time, typically about 12 months, 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 alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it should be Maine approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees 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 need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Cape Elizabeth ME area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training directed and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Maine to make certain that the training course is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more popular way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree in Maine. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Cape Elizabeth ME home, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Once you have determined 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 no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Maine and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school relative to Cape Elizabeth ME as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other schools.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Cape Elizabeth ME.
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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Cape Elizabeth ME area school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Maine or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Maine school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Cape Elizabeth ME 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Cape Elizabeth ME medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Cape Elizabeth ME area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Course near Cape Elizabeth ME
Picking the right registered nursing school is arguably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous variables that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is essential that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Cape Elizabeth ME.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's important to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers frequently ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a RN, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should ready several strategies about how you want to answer them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an excellent nurse and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down several concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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