How to Choose a Nursing Program near Westwood Massachusetts
Selecting the best nursing program near Westwood MA may feel like a complex undertaking, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your home is probably not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are a number of important additional aspects to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Westwood MA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to aid 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. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And 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 attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Westwood MA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four 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 might 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 normally a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained 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. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Massachusetts board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are principally two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Massachusetts approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study 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 need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at Westwood MA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for Massachusetts 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. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for many Westwood MA 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 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. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Westwood MA or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Massachusetts and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Westwood MA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Massachusetts or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Massachusetts school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Westwood MA 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 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Westwood MA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Westwood MA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Westwood MA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Westwood Massachusetts 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.
Westwood is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 14,618 at the 2010 census. In July 2005, CNN/Money and Money magazine ranked Westwood 13th on its list of the 100 Best Places to Live in the United States. Boston Magazine included Gay Street in Westwood on its list of the Best Streets in the Boston area. It is the 9th wealthiest town in the state of Massachusetts.
Westwood was first settled in 1641 and was part of the town of Dedham, originally called 'West Dedham', until it was officially incorporated in 1897. It was the last town to split from the original town of Dedham.
In 1970, Westwood was home to The Westwood Study, an assessment which measured the amount of racism in the almost entirely white town. Conducted in the context of efforts at integrating housing, what the study revealed was how large proportions of the town had racist views while at the same time viewing themselves as not racist.
Select the Right Nursing College near Westwood MA
Enrolling in the right nursing program is arguably the most important step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is important that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Westwood MA.
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