How to Choose a Nursing College in Fall River Massachusetts
Selecting the right nursing school near Fall River MA may feel like a difficult project, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is local to your residence is most likely not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional things to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Fall River MA medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Fall River MA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse in Fall River MA. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to earn 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 normally a two year program made available by Massachusetts community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Massachusetts 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 job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Fall River 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) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Massachusetts board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are generally two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Fall River MA. The one that may be finished in the shortest time frame, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Massachusetts approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Fall River MA area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three 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 instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training mandated and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the program 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 certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree in Massachusetts. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Fall River MA home, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many 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 commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Courses
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Massachusetts and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school relative to Fall River MA along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see 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 an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Fall River MA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ 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. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Fall River MA area school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Massachusetts or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Massachusetts school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Fall River MA 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 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 Fall River MA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Fall River MA area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Course near Fall River MA
Enrolling in the right registered nursing program is probably the most critical first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many aspects that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist 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 proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Fall River MA.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. Among the things that hiring managers often ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the private reasons you may have for being a nurse, but additionally what qualities and skills you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to organize several ideas about how you would like to answer them. Because there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down a few ideas and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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