How to Find the Right Nursing College in Silver Spring Maryland
Choosing the best nursing school near Silver Spring MD may seem like a formidable endeavor, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of important additional factors to explore before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Silver Spring MD medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function 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 as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Silver Spring MD, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Silver Spring 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 obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally 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 use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Maryland colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 typically a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Silver Spring MD or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has acquired 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. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate 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 academic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Silver Spring MD. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides 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 Maryland approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Silver Spring MD area. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive 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 training required and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets 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 sure that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Maryland. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Silver Spring MD home, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to 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 can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. 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 job and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Maryland and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school relative to Silver Spring MD along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points 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 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. In addition to helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Silver Spring MD.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Silver Spring MD area school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Maryland or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the Maryland school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Silver Spring MD healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied 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 good reputation within the Silver Spring MD medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Silver Spring MD area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN School near Silver Spring MD
Picking the right registered nursing program is perhaps the most important phase to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this content, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Silver Spring MD.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to consider questions you could be asked. Among the things that interviewers typically ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a registered nurse, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare some strategies about how you want to answer them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down some ideas and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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