How to Choose a Nursing College in Quincy Massachusetts
Searching for the right nursing school near Quincy MA may seem like a complex endeavor, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are various crucial additional aspects to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Quincy MA medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Quincy MA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in Quincy MA. And 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 two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by Massachusetts community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth 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 past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 normally a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Quincy MA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired 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. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Massachusetts board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two scholastic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Quincy MA. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter 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 warrants that the course of study adequately 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 earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Quincy MA area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of training directed and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for Massachusetts to make sure that the training is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree in Massachusetts. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Quincy MA home, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with limited time to work toward 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 Schools
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines 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 reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school relative to Quincy MA along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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 ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Quincy 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Quincy MA area school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Massachusetts or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, 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 nearby Quincy 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Quincy MA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help 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 Quincy MA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Course near Quincy MA
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing degree program is arguably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many aspects that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is essential that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Quincy MA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to review questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a RN, but also what qualities and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should organize a number of strategies about how you want to answer them. Given that there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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