How to Pick a Nursing School in Fairfield Maine
Finding the best nursing school near Fairfield ME may seem like a complicated project, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, 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 measure the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is local to your house is probably not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are several essential additional things to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Fairfield ME medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific 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 duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex 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 deliver primary or specialty care services in Fairfield ME, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse in Fairfield ME. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by Maine community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Maine colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 generally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Fairfield ME 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. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Maine board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are principally two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Fairfield ME. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more extensive instruction, 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 Maine approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Fairfield ME area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary 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 is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more popular way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree in Maine. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Fairfield ME home, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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 work and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Courses
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Maine and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school relative to Fairfield ME as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Fairfield ME.
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 important that the Fairfield ME area school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Maine or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Maine school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Fairfield 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 colleges 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 favorable reputation within the Fairfield ME healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Fairfield ME area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN School near Fairfield ME
Selecting the right registered nursing program is arguably the most critical step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this content, it is essential that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Fairfield ME.
Why Did You Want to Be a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a registered nurse, but also what characteristics and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of approaches about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the ideal choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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