How to Enroll In a Nursing School in Waltham Massachusetts
Searching for the best nursing college near Waltham MA may seem like a formidable endeavor, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of important additional things to investigate before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Waltham MA healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising 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 accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Waltham MA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse in Waltham MA. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain 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 2 year program offered by Massachusetts community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize 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 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 prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 typically a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Waltham MA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Massachusetts board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are principally two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Waltham MA. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, typically about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it should be Massachusetts approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Waltham MA area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 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 training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Massachusetts to make certain that the education is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree in Massachusetts. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Waltham MA home, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Massachusetts and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school relative to Waltham MA as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Waltham MA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Waltham MA area school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Massachusetts or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. 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 speak with some local Waltham 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 programs you are considering 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Waltham MA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Waltham MA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN College near Waltham MA
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing college is arguably the most important phase to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many factors that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this post, it is essential that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick 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 licensed RN in Waltham MA.
Why Did You Want to Be an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that hiring managers frequently ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a RN, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare several approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the leading choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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