How to Choose a Nursing Degree Program near Westerly Rhode Island
Choosing the right nursing program near Westerly RI may feel like a complicated undertaking, especially if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your home is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are many key additional aspects to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Westerly RI hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to aid 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 along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating 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 instance, 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. 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 just 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Westerly RI area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Rhode Island board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are essentially two academic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest period of time, normally about twelve 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 alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be Rhode Island approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus 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 have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at Westerly RI area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training directed and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for Rhode Island or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education 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 other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend college for some Westerly RI students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more 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 work and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Westerly RI or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Rhode Island and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely 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 ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.
- 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 organization. Besides helping verify that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Westerly RI for non-accredited schools.
- 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Rhode Island or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. 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 speak with some Westerly RI 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Westerly RI healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Westerly RI hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Westerly RI?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Westerly Rhode Island 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.
Westerly, Rhode Island
Westerly is a town on the southwestern shoreline of Washington County, Rhode Island, first settled by English colonists in 1661 and incorporated as a municipality in 1669. It is a beachfront community on the south shore of the state with a population of 22,787 as of the 2010 census.
The Pawcatuck River flows on the western border of Westerly and was once renowned for its own species of Westerly salmon, three of which are on the town's official seal. The river flows from some 15 mi (24 km) inland, emptying into Little Narragansett Bay. It also serves as the boundary between Westerly and Pawcatuck, Connecticut. Three large salt ponds lie along the coast of Westerly which serve as shallow, reef-like pools whose outer walls form the long, white beaches for which the town became renowned. From west to east, these ponds are called Maschaug Pond, Winnapaug Pond, and Quonochontaug Pond.
A type of granite known as Westerly granite has long been quarried here. Westerly granite is ideal for statuary and has been used in numerous government buildings of several states along the eastern seaboard. The Westerly area was known for its granite and stone-cutting industry.
Enroll in the Right Nursing Program near Westerly RI
Deciding on the ideal nursing school is potentially the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Westerly RI.
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