How to Pick a Nursing Program in Norwood Massachusetts
Choosing the right nursing college near Norwood MA may seem like a complicated project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly college or the one that is closest to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional aspects to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Norwood MA healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing 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), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Norwood MA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Norwood MA. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by Massachusetts community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Massachusetts colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 usually a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Norwood MA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received 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. Further 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 mandates.
LVN and LPN Training
There are basically two scholastic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Norwood MA. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide 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 some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests 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.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Norwood MA area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for Massachusetts to make sure that the education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to get training and earn 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 number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Norwood MA home, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Massachusetts and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school relative to Norwood MA along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Norwood MA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Norwood MA area school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Massachusetts or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, contact the Massachusetts school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Norwood MA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied 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 favorable reputation within the Norwood MA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Norwood MA area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN College near Norwood MA
Selecting the ideal registered nursing degree program is probably the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are numerous factors that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is important that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Norwood MA.
Why Did You Want to Be a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's important to review questions you could be asked. Among the questions that recruiters frequently ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a registered nurse, but additionally what qualities and abilities you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you must ready some strategies about how you would like to address them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the strengths 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 a few ideas and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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