How to Select a Nursing School near Westbrook Connecticut
Finding the best nursing school near Westbrook CT may seem like a difficult undertaking, especially 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 receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional factors to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Westbrook CT hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly 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.
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 receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Westbrook CT area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by community colleges. It readies 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 ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies 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 prior 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 typically a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received 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. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Connecticut board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it should be Connecticut approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Westbrook CT area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have 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 period of training required and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for Connecticut or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Westbrook CT or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Connecticut and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure 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 things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see 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 verify that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Westbrook CT for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ 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. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Connecticut or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Connecticut school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Westbrook CT 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 dissatisfied 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 favorable reputation within the Westbrook CT medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire 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 mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Westbrook CT hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many Westbrook CT students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Westbrook CT?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Westbrook Connecticut 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.
Westbrook is a town in Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 6,938 at the 2010 census. The town center is also classified by the U.S. Census Bureau as a census-designated place (CDP).
Westbrook lies in the shoreline area of the state. The town is bordered by the towns of Essex, Clinton, Deep River, and Old Saybrook, where the Connecticut River empties into Long Island Sound. The Salt Meadow Unit of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge is located in town.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 21.4 square miles (55 km2), of which, 15.7 square miles (41 km2) is land and 5.7 square miles (15 km2) (26.47%) is water. The CDP has a total area of 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) of which 22.33% is water.
Enroll in the Right Nursing Degree near Westbrook CT
Picking the ideal registered nursing college is probably the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many factors that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this content, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Westbrook CT.
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