How to Find the Right Nursing Program near Waterbury Connecticut
Locating the best nursing college near Waterbury CT may feel like a complicated undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are many essential additional considerations to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Waterbury CT hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher 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 routine 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 attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Waterbury CT 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 position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 typically a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Connecticut board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are basically two academic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more extensive training, 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 Connecticut approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees 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 need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at Waterbury CT area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training directed and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for Connecticut 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 training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Waterbury CT or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Connecticut and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Waterbury CT for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different 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. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Connecticut or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Connecticut school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Waterbury 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 schools 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 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 superb reputation within the Waterbury CT healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Waterbury CT hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for some Waterbury CT students. Concerning 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 a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Waterbury CT?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Waterbury 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.
Waterbury (nicknamed "The Brass City") is a city in the U.S. state of Connecticut on the Naugatuck River, 33 miles southwest of Hartford and 77 miles northeast of New York City. Waterbury is the second-largest city in New Haven County, Connecticut. As of the 2010 census, Waterbury had a population of 110,366, making it the 10th largest city in the New York Metropolitan Area, 9th largest city in New England and the 5th largest city in Connecticut.
Throughout the first half of the 20th century, Waterbury had large industrial interests and was the leading center in the United States for the manufacture of brassware (including castings and finishings), as reflected in the nickname the "Brass City" and the city's motto Quid Aere Perennius? ("What Is More Lasting Than Brass?"). It was also noted for the manufacture of watches and clocks.
The city is along Interstate 84 (Yankee Expressway) and Route 8 and has a Metro-North railroad station with connections to Grand Central Terminal. Waterbury is also home to Post University and the regional campuses of the University of Connecticut, University of Bridgeport, Western Connecticut State University as well as Naugatuck Valley Community College.
Choose the Right Nursing School near Waterbury CT
Selecting the right registered nursing program is potentially the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are various aspects that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is critical that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Waterbury CT.
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