How to Choose an LPN School in Westford Massachusetts
Once you have decided on a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it’s important that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college in Westford MA that will deliver the appropriate instruction. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, except for the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their responsibilities do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the following segment. When initiating their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with those that are the closest to their homes or that are the least expensive. Although tuition and location are relevant points to consider, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other factors, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important also. There are various other questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LVN or LPN training program that we will cover later in this article. But first, let’s take a look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Functions
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have many tasks that they complete in the Westford MA medical facilities where they work. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Massachusetts. While they may be responsible for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can encounter patients seeking medical treatment is their domain. Every state not only oversees their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can’t perform. So based on the state, their daily work functions might include:
- Checking vital signs
- Giving medicines
- Initiating IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Supporting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their work responsibilities being governed by each state, the Westford MA healthcare facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can work in various specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
There are basically two academic accreditations available in Massachusetts that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time period, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be state 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 properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Westford MA, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degrees
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 earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Westford MA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by Massachusetts community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Massachusetts colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 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 generally a two year program after acquiring 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 attained 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. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Massachusetts board of nursing for any state mandates.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Westford MA area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated 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 minimal period of instruction required and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for Massachusetts to make certain that the training course is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many Westford MA area schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more 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 job and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Massachusetts and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school relative to Westford MA along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the Westford MA school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited Massachusetts schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for nurses, both LPNs and RNs, are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN) in addition to 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 essential that the Westford MA school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Massachusetts or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Massachusetts school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Westford 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 LPN 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships in the Westford MA area to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs in Massachusetts require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships in the Westford MA area.
Enroll in the Right LPN Degree Westford 01886
Selecting the right Licensed Practical Nurse degree program is potentially the most critical step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are various variables that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become an LVN in Westford MA.
Why Did You Want to Become an LPN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's important to consider questions you may be asked. Among the things that interviewers often ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a licensed practical nurse, but additionally what attributes and talents you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize a number of ideas about how you want to address them. Considering there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the ideal choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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