How to Pick a Nursing College in Somerville Massachusetts
Selecting the best nursing school near Somerville 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 already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of important additional factors to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Somerville MA medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to aid 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 portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring 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 more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Somerville MA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse in Somerville MA. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to obtain 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 typically a two year program offered by Massachusetts community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Massachusetts colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Somerville MA or concentrate 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. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Massachusetts board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are principally two academic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Somerville MA. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish 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 warrants that the course of study 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 need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Somerville MA area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in 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 have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Massachusetts to make certain that the training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to receive training and earn a nursing degree in Massachusetts. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Somerville MA home, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, 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 to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school relative to Somerville MA as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see 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 organization. In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Somerville MA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Somerville MA area school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Massachusetts or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Massachusetts school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Somerville 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 programs 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Somerville MA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Somerville MA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Degree near Somerville MA
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing program is potentially the most important phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of variables that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is critical that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Somerville MA.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask nursing prospects is "What compelled you to select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for being a RN, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down several concepts and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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