How to Find the Right Nursing School near Williamstown Massachusetts
Locating the right nursing school near Williamstown MA may seem like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regretably, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional factors to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together 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 numerous different Williamstown MA medical environments, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Williamstown MA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by Massachusetts community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Massachusetts colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a 2 year program after obtaining 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 acquired 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 can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Massachusetts board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many Williamstown MA students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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. So if your job and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges in the Williamstown MA area and throughout Massachusetts and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- 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 make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans in Williamstown MA, which are oftentimes not offered 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) in addition to 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 enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Massachusetts or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, contact the Massachusetts school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Williamstown MA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Williamstown MA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Williamstown MA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near Williamstown MA?
Williamstown is a town in Berkshire County, in the northwest corner of Massachusetts, United States. It shares a border with Vermont to the north and New York to the west. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 7,754 at the 2010 census. A college town, it is home to Williams College, the Clark Art Institute and the Tony-awarded Williamstown Theatre Festival, which runs every July and August.
Originally called West Hoosac, the area was first settled in 1749. Prior to this time its position along the Mohawk Trail made it ideal Mohican hunting grounds. Its strategic location bordering Dutch colonies in New York led to its settlement, because it was needed as a buffer to stop the Dutch from encroaching on Massachusetts. Fort West Hoosac, the westernmost blockhouse and stockade in Massachusetts, was built in 1756. The town was incorporated in 1765 as Williamstown according to the will of Col. Ephraim Williams, who was killed in the French and Indian War. He bequeathed a significant sum to the town on the condition that it were named after him and started a free school. In 1791, the school opened, but only lasted a short time as a free school before becoming Williams College in 1793.
The primary industry was agriculture, particularly dairy farming, sheep herding and wool production. Sawmills and gristmills operated by water power at the streams. With the Industrial Revolution larger mills were added, including the Walley Mill and Williamstown Manufacturing Company (Station Mill), both of which produced textiles. The A. Loop & Company (Water Street Mill) produced twine. With the opening of the railroad, tourists arrived. Several inns and hotels were established, including the Idlewild Hotel and Greylock Hotel. In the late 1930s and 1940s, E. Parmelee Prentice and his wife Alta, the daughter of John D. Rockefeller, created Mount Hope Farm. With a mansion designed by James Gamble Rogers, it was one of the outstanding experimental farms in the country. Today, it belongs to Williams College, which remains the largest employer in town.
Choose the Right RN Degree near Williamstown MA
Picking the right registered nursing degree program is probably the most critical step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Williamstown MA.
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