How to Pick a Nursing Program in Smithfield Maine
Choosing the best nursing program near Smithfield ME may feel like a difficult project, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is local to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are various crucial additional considerations to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Smithfield ME medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising 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 normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Smithfield ME, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse in Smithfield 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 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 two year program made available by Maine community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Maine colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Smithfield 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) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Maine board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Smithfield ME. The one that can be completed in the shortest period of time, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it should be Maine approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus effectively 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 earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Smithfield ME area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for Maine to make certain that the training course is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree in Maine. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Smithfield ME home, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, some 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 a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Maine and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school relative to Smithfield ME and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Smithfield ME.
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) 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 essential that the Smithfield ME area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Maine or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Maine school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Smithfield 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Smithfield ME healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Smithfield ME area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN College near Smithfield ME
Picking the ideal registered nursing college is arguably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using 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 final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Smithfield ME.
Why Did You Decide to Become an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers typically ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a nurse, but additionally what qualities and abilities you have that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you should organize some ideas about how you would like to answer them. Since there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the leading choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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