How to Pick a Nursing Program near West Hartford Connecticut
Selecting the best nursing program near West Hartford CT may feel like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regretably, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is local to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to pick a nursing college. There are a number of crucial additional considerations to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different West Hartford CT medical settings, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex 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 provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees 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 two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the West Hartford CT area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by Connecticut community colleges. It readies 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 ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Connecticut colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 usually a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he 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 make sure to get in touch with the Connecticut board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more preferred way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for many West Hartford CT students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges in the West Hartford CT area and throughout Connecticut and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 verify that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans in West Hartford CT, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Connecticut or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Connecticut school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some West Hartford 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 colleges you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy 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 good reputation within the West Hartford CT healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with West Hartford CT hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near West Hartford CT?
West Hartford, Connecticut
The town is known for its popular downtown area colloquially known as "West Hartford Center," or simply "The Center," which is centered on Farmington Avenue and South/North Main Street. West Hartford Center has been the community's main hub since the late 17th century. In 2008, Blue Back Square opened as a new addition to the central area. Blue Back includes a bookstore, a movie theater, two parking garages, various physician and medical offices, and several restaurants.
Incorporated as a town in 1854, the town was previously a parish of Hartford, founded in 1672. Among the southernmost of the communities encompassed within the Hartford-Springfield Knowledge Corridor metropolitan region, West Hartford is home to University of Hartford and the University of Saint Joseph.
In 2010, Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine listed West Hartford as one of the nation's "10 Great Cities for Raising Families." In 2010, Kiplinger's ranked West Hartford #9 on its "10 Best Cities for the Next Decade" list. In 2010, CNN Money ranked West Hartford as the 55th best small city in America. In 2010, the national online magazine Travelandleisure.com cited West Hartford as one of 10 "coolest" suburbs in the nation. The magazine called the West Hartford Reservoir off Farmington Avenue "West Hartford's version of Central Park," and it also noted the town's "vacation-worthy hot spots, with cutting-edge restaurants, great shopping, and plenty of parking."
Pick the Right RN School near West Hartford CT
Deciding on the right registered nursing degree program is arguably the most important step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are many aspects that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in West Hartford CT.
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