How to Choose a Nursing Degree Program near Westfield Maine
Choosing the right nursing program near Westfield ME may seem like a formidable project, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many key additional aspects to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as Westfield ME hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 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 available in the Westfield ME area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 normally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Maine board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Training
There are basically two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it should be Maine approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests 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.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at Westfield ME area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and each state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for Maine or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires 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 programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for many Westfield ME students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. 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 household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Westfield ME or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Maine and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Westfield ME for non-accredited schools.
- 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) together with 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 school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Maine or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Maine school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Westfield ME 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 colleges 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 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Westfield ME healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Westfield ME hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Westfield ME?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Westfield Maine area. If that is the case, then the following information may prove to be both educational and useful regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 40.29 square miles (104.35 km2), of which 40.25 square miles (104.25 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 549 people, 216 households, and 159 families residing in the town. The population density was 13.6 inhabitants per square mile (5.3/km2). There were 240 housing units at an average density of 6.0 per square mile (2.3/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 98.9% White, 0.4% African American, and 0.7% Native American.
There were 216 households of which 24.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.3% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 26.4% were non-families. 21.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.72.
Enroll in the Right Nursing Program near Westfield ME
Deciding on the right nursing college is potentially the most important phase to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are various variables that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Westfield ME.
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