How to Enroll In a Nursing Program near Waldorf Maryland
Selecting the best nursing school near Waldorf MD may seem like a challenging project, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order 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. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is most likely not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are many crucial additional things to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Waldorf MD hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically 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 multiple degrees offered 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 descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Waldorf MD area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two 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.
Once 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. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Maryland board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, typically about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering 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 Maryland approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at Waldorf MD area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and every state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for Maryland or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact 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 can be other prerequisites as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Waldorf MD or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Maryland and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Waldorf MD for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ 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 certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Maryland or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Maryland school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Waldorf MD healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Waldorf MD medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Waldorf MD hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend school for some Waldorf MD students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of 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 responsibilities 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 Waldorf MD?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Waldorf Maryland 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.
Waldorf is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Charles County, Maryland, United States. It is 23 miles (37 km) south-southeast of Washington, D.C. The population of the census-designated area (now including the large planned community of St. Charles) was 67,752 at the 2010 census. Waldorf was settled before 1900 as a rural crossroads with a train station and was called "Beantown" after a local family.
Waldorf's original name was Beantown. During his post assassination flight, John Wilkes Booth told a road sentry he was headed to his home in Charles County near Beantown and was allowed to proceed. In 1880, the General Assembly of Maryland by an act changed the name to "Waldorf" in honor of William Waldorf Astor (1848–1919), the great-grandson of John Jacob Astor (1763–1848), who was born in Walldorf, Palatinate, Germany. On July 29, 1908, the city of Plumb Valley in Waseca County, Minnesota, changed its name to Waldorf after Waldorf, Maryland.
Once a tobacco market village, Waldorf came to prominence in the 1950s as a gambling destination after slot machines were legalized in Charles County in 1949. The boom lasted until 1968 when gambling was once again outlawed. Its subsequent substantial growth as a residential community began with a 1970 loan package from the Department of Housing and Urban Development which fueled the giant planned community of St. Charles, south of Waldorf.
Select the Right Nursing Degree near Waldorf MD
Deciding on the right registered nursing degree program is probably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Waldorf MD.
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