How to Pick a Nursing College near Wilmington Massachusetts
Searching for the best nursing college near Wilmington MA may feel like a challenging endeavor, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential 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 future students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are various important additional factors to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different Wilmington MA medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees available 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 obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Wilmington MA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by Massachusetts community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Massachusetts 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 wish 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 usually a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example 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. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Massachusetts board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend college for many Wilmington MA students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges in the Wilmington MA area and throughout Massachusetts and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans in Wilmington MA, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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. Some 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 provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Massachusetts or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, check with the Massachusetts school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Wilmington 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 programs 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 unhappy 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 Wilmington MA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Wilmington MA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near Wilmington MA?
Wilmington was first settled in 1665 and was officially incorporated in 1730, from parts of Woburn, Reading, and Billerica. The first settler is believed to have been Will Butter, Richard Harnden or Abraham Jaquith. Butter was brought to Woburn as an indentured captive. Once he attained his freedom, he fled to the opposite side of a large swamp, in what is now Wilmington. Harnden settled in Reading, in an area that is now part of Wilmington. Jaquith settled in an area of Billerica that became part of Wilmington in 1737.
The Middlesex Canal passed through Wilmington. Chartered in 1792, opened in 1803, it provided freight and passenger transport between the Merrimack River and Boston. One important cargo on the canal was hops. From the middle of the 18th century until the early 19th century, Massachusetts was the acknowledged leader in hop production in North America. Middlesex County in particular was famous for its hop yards, and Wilmington was the first place where the culture grew to a fever pitch.
The Boston and Lowell Railroad was built in 1835. The line is now the oldest operating rail line in the U.S. Wilmington is also served by the Haverhill Division (the old B&M Portland Division). A spur track known as the Wildcat connects the Haverhill and Lowell divisions, following the path of the old Wilmington & Andover Railroad, the corporate ancestor of the Boston & Maine.
Pick the Right RN Course near Wilmington MA
Deciding on the right registered nursing school is arguably the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous factors that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this content, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist 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 drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Wilmington MA.
More Fabulous Cities in Massachusetts
Business Results 1 - 10 of 972