How to Pick a Nursing Program in Oakland Rhode Island
Choosing the best nursing program near Oakland RI may seem like a formidable project, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are many important additional factors to investigate before you decide 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 alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Oakland RI medical care 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 basic duty is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing 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), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Oakland RI, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse in Oakland RI. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive 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 short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by Rhode Island community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Rhode Island colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Oakland RI or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Rhode Island board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are principally two scholastic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Oakland RI. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, normally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it should be Rhode Island approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study properly 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 have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Oakland RI area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain 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 instruction required and each state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets 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 Rhode Island 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 might be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more popular way to get training and attain a nursing degree in Rhode Island. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Oakland RI home, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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 family responsibilities 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.
What to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Rhode Island and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school relative to Oakland RI as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.
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 agency. Besides helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Oakland RI.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Oakland RI area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Rhode Island or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the Rhode Island school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Oakland RI 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 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 unhappy 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 good reputation within the Oakland RI healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Oakland RI area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Program near Oakland RI
Picking the ideal registered nursing degree program is probably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Oakland RI.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's important to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a nurse, but additionally what attributes and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should ready a number of ideas about how you want to answer them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the leading candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down several concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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