How to Find the Right Nursing College in Lawrence Massachusetts
Locating the best nursing college near Lawrence MA may feel like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, 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 study and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of important additional factors to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Lawrence MA medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Lawrence MA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in Lawrence MA. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 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 made available by Massachusetts community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use 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 usually a 4 year program offered at Massachusetts colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Lawrence MA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Massachusetts board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Lawrence MA. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it should be Massachusetts approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of 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 received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Lawrence MA area. The length of the training can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under 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. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction required and every state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with 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 Massachusetts to make certain that the education 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.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree in Massachusetts. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Lawrence MA home, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Massachusetts and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school relative to Lawrence MA as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other schools.
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 ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Lawrence MA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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) along with 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 Lawrence MA area school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding 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 reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Massachusetts school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Lawrence 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 programs 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Lawrence MA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Lawrence MA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN School near Lawrence MA
Deciding on the right registered nursing degree program is potentially the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many aspects that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Lawrence MA.
Why Did You Want to Be an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's important to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a registered nurse, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you must organize several approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the talents you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the ideal choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down some concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Some Other Cities in Massachusetts