How to Pick a Nursing Program in Plainfield Massachusetts
Choosing the right nursing college near Plainfield MA may seem like a formidable endeavor, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are many crucial additional factors to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Plainfield MA medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing 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), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Plainfield MA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in Plainfield 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 just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by Massachusetts community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive 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 prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire 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 typically a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Plainfield MA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Massachusetts board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Training
There are basically two scholastic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Plainfield MA. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, 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 effectively 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 earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Plainfield 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 mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact 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 requirements as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree in Massachusetts. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Plainfield MA home, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. 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. And so if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Programs
Once you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Massachusetts and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school relative to Plainfield MA and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Plainfield MA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary 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 certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Plainfield MA area school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Massachusetts or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Massachusetts school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Plainfield 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Plainfield MA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Plainfield MA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN School near Plainfield MA
Selecting the right registered nursing school is perhaps the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are numerous variables that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is essential that you choose an RN school 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 ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Plainfield MA.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. Among the things that hiring managers frequently ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a registered nurse, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to ready several approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down a few ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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