How to Choose a Nursing College near Whitefield Maine
Searching for the right nursing program near Whitefield ME may feel like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many crucial additional aspects to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Whitefield ME hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine 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 enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Whitefield ME area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After 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 be sure to get in touch with the Maine board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are basically two academic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it should be Maine approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum properly 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 need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Whitefield ME area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and each state has its own requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for Maine or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many Whitefield ME students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental 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 such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work 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 active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Whitefield ME or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Maine and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Whitefield ME for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Maine or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Maine school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Whitefield ME 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Whitefield ME healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Whitefield ME hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Whitefield ME?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Whitefield 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.
Whitefield is a town in Lincoln County, Maine, United States. The population was 2,300 at the 2010 census. Whitefield is named for the celebrated British evangelist George Whitefield, who inspired the colonists before the town was settled in 1770, mainly by Irish Catholics. They remembered him when incorporation came in 1809. Whitefield is included in the Augusta, Maine micropolitan New England City and Town Area.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 47.51 square miles (123.05 km2), of which, 46.82 square miles (121.26 km2) of it is land and 0.69 square miles (1.79 km2) is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 2,300 people, 917 households, and 643 families residing in the town. The population density was 49.1 inhabitants per square mile (19.0/km2). There were 1,055 housing units at an average density of 22.5 per square mile (8.7/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.8% White, 0.3% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.3% Asian, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.1% of the population.
Select the Right Nursing College near Whitefield ME
Deciding on the ideal nursing degree program is perhaps the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous aspects that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this content, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Whitefield ME.
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