How to Choose a Nursing School in Boxford Massachusetts
Locating the best nursing program near Boxford MA may seem like a formidable project, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are a number of key additional considerations to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Boxford MA healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced 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 Boxford MA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse in Boxford MA. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by Massachusetts community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Massachusetts 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 may wish 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 generally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Boxford MA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Massachusetts board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are essentially two scholastic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Boxford MA. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, 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 Massachusetts approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees 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 need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Boxford MA area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to 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 must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for Massachusetts to make sure that the training course is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree in Massachusetts. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Boxford MA home, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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. Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Colleges
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Massachusetts and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school relative to Boxford MA and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Boxford MA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Boxford MA area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Massachusetts 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 agencies for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Massachusetts school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Boxford MA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Boxford MA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Boxford MA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN College near Boxford MA
Picking the right registered nursing degree program is potentially the most crucial step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are various aspects that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick 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 RN in Boxford MA.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers frequently ask nursing prospects is "What made you pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the private reasons you might have for being a RN, but additionally what characteristics and talents you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare some approaches about how you want to address them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the ideal choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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