RN Nursing Programs in Columbia MD 21044

How to Find the Right Nursing College in Columbia Maryland

Columbia MD Registered NurseChoosing the best nursing college near Columbia MD may feel like a complicated project, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are various essential additional considerations to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Columbia MD healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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 Columbia MD, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees

There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse in Columbia MD. 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 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Maryland community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Maryland colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 normally a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Columbia MD or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has attained 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 Maryland board of nursing for any state requirements.

LPN Certificates and Degrees

RN assisting surgeon in Columbia MDThere are generally two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Columbia MD. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it should be Maryland approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests 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.

CNA Courses

Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Columbia MD area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Maryland to make certain that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.

Nursing Online Programs

attending nursing school online in Columbia MDAttending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing degree in Maryland. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Columbia MD home, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of 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, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Questions to Ask Nurse Schools

Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Maryland and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school relative to Columbia MD along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate 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. Besides helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Columbia MD.

Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Columbia MD area school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Maryland or the state where you will be working.

Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Maryland school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Columbia MD 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 schools you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy 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 favorable reputation within the Columbia MD healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.

Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Columbia MD area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Right RN School near Columbia MD

Picking the right registered nursing school is arguably the most important phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you should think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this post, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Columbia MD.

Why Did You Desire to Be an RN?

When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the questions that recruiters frequently ask nursing prospects is "What compelled you to choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a RN, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must ready some strategies about how you want to answer them. Considering there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the abilities you have that make you an excellent nurse and the best candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.

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