How to Choose a Nursing Program in Chatham Massachusetts
Selecting the right nursing college near Chatham MA may feel like a difficult project, especially 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 must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection 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 home is most likely not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are many essential additional factors to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first review what the job 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 Chatham MA medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Chatham MA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Chatham MA. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six 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 Massachusetts community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including 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) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Massachusetts colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 typically a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Chatham MA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has earned 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. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Massachusetts board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are essentially two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Chatham MA. The one that can be finished in the shortest amount of time, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering 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 pursue, it should be Massachusetts approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Chatham MA area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for Massachusetts to make certain that the training is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree in Massachusetts. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Chatham MA home, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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. Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Massachusetts and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school relative to Chatham MA and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Chatham MA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Chatham MA area school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Massachusetts or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Massachusetts school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Chatham 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 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Chatham MA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Chatham MA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN School near Chatham MA
Choosing the right registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are numerous aspects that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this content, it is important that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist 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 proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Chatham MA.
Why Did You Want to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the things that recruiters often ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a RN, but also what characteristics and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize a number of strategies about how you want to address them. Because there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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