How to Find the Right Nursing College near West Warwick Rhode Island
Choosing the best nursing college near West Warwick RI may feel like a challenging project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is local to your house is probably not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various key additional aspects to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely West Warwick RI hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the West Warwick RI area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 commonly a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Rhode Island board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides 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 should be Rhode Island approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum 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 some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be received at West Warwick RI area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training mandated and every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for Rhode Island or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure 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 might be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more preferred way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for some West Warwick RI students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near West Warwick RI or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Rhode Island and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school along with the price 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 only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in West Warwick RI for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary 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. 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 attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Rhode Island or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Rhode Island school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some West Warwick 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 programs you are considering 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the West Warwick RI healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with West Warwick RI hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near West Warwick RI?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater West Warwick 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.
West Warwick, Rhode Island
West Warwick was incorporated in 1913, making it the youngest town in the state. Prior to 1913, the town, situated on the western bank of the Pawtuxet River, was the population and industrial center of the larger town of Warwick. The town split because local Democratic politicians wanted to consolidate their power and isolate their section of town from the Republican-dominated farmland in the east.
The area that is now the town of West Warwick was the site of some of the earliest textile mills in the United States situated along the banks of the north and south branches of the Pawtuxet River. These small mill villages would play an important role in the early development of the textile industry in North America. Lippitt Mill founded in 1809 by Revolutionary War hero, Christopher Lippitt, was one of the first mills in the area.
The 1810 Lippitt Mill is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is one of the earliest textile mills in Rhode Island. It was founded in 1809 and the current dam was constructed in 1889. The Mill is one of the earliest textile mills in Rhode Island and is one of the oldest American textile mills still used for manufacturing. Another mill center, River Point, is located at the junction of the North and South branches of the Pawtuxet River, and is home to several mills which have been converted to residences, and which make up the Royal Mill Complex. The Original Bradford Soap Works, located in the Valley Queen Mill, dates back to the 1800s and is still in use today.
Choose the Right Nursing Degree near West Warwick RI
Picking the ideal nursing college is perhaps the most important phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in West Warwick RI.
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