How to Find the Right Nursing Program in Elkridge Maryland
Finding the right nursing program near Elkridge MD may feel like a complicated undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many essential additional considerations to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Elkridge MD 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 primary function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. 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 Elkridge MD, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in Elkridge MD. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by Maryland community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Maryland 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 might desire to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Elkridge MD or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Maryland board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two scholastic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Elkridge MD. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, normally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Maryland approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Elkridge MD area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Maryland to make certain that the education is state approved. As well as 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.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to get training and acquire a nursing degree in Maryland. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Elkridge MD home, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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 responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Maryland and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school relative to Elkridge MD and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other programs.
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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Elkridge MD.
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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Elkridge MD area school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Maryland or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Maryland school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Elkridge 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 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 Elkridge MD healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Elkridge MD area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN School near Elkridge MD
Enrolling in the right registered nursing degree program is arguably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous factors that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this article, it is critical that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Elkridge MD.
Why Did You Choose to Become an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the things that interviewers typically ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a registered nurse, but additionally what qualities and talents you have that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must organize several ideas about how you would like to answer them. Considering there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the best candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down some concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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