How to Enroll In a Nursing College near Westminster Maryland
Finding the right nursing school near Westminster MD may feel like a complicated endeavor, particularly 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 obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the best way to select a nursing program. There are several crucial additional factors to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Westminster MD hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to support 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 portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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.
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Westminster MD area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at 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 might desire 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 generally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After 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. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to check with the Maryland board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two academic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it should be Maryland approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Westminster MD area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction required and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for Maryland or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Westminster MD or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Maryland and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, 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 organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Westminster MD for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Maryland or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Maryland school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Westminster 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 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 displeased 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 Westminster MD healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Westminster MD hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific 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 some Westminster MD students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Westminster MD?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Westminster 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.
Westminster is a city in northern Maryland, United States. A suburb of Baltimore it is the seat of Carroll County. The city's population was 18,590 at the 2010 census. Westminster is an outlying community within the Baltimore-Towson, MD MSA, which is part of a greater Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia, DC-MD-VA-WV CSA.
William Winchester (1706-1790) purchased approximately 167 acres of land called White's Level in 1754 which became known as the city of Winchester. The Maryland General Assembly later changed the name of his town from Winchester to Westminster because Winchester was also the name of the county seat of Frederick County, Virginia where it was at that time located.
On June 28, 1863, the cavalry skirmish known as Corbit's Charge was fought in the streets of Westminster, when two companies of Delaware cavalry attacked a much larger Confederate force under General J.E.B. Stuart, during the Gettysburg Campaign.
Select the Right Nursing School near Westminster MD
Enrolling in the right registered nursing school is potentially the most important phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous variables that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this article, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Westminster MD.
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