If you have been considering a career in nursing then there are a few important things you need to understand about the different nursing programs offered and what the long-term outlook is for each. Many people believe that nursing is one single program or degree, when in fact, there are several different types of nurses. This article will discuss two major nursing certifications you can pursue: licensed practical nurse (LPN) and registered nurse (RN). All three have different educational and licensing requirements.
Licensed Practical Nurse in Massachusetts
Licensed practical nursing (LPN) is considered the “ground floor” of nursing. It is usually a good option for those who are not sure about a career in nursing, but want to try it out. Because of the short time commitment (8-12 months for most programs) and the low cost, this is a great option for those just out of high school. LPNs work in more residential and long term care facilities, and they are limited in their ability to care for patients. LPNs assist with record keeping, injecting medications and immunizations and basic wound care. They must always be supervised by a registered nurse or doctor, and cannot diagnose patients. According to the Massachusetts State Board of Nursing, there are 27 accredited practical nursing (PN) programs in the state. LPNs may transfer to RN programs but may not challenge the RN exam without successful completion of the RN program.
Registered Nursing Programs in Massachusetts
To become a registered nurse (RN) students can take two paths: earn an Associate’s degree or a Bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN). The route one takes will depend largely on their future career goals and the time they wish to invest in their education. While graduating from both programs ensures that you can take the National RN exam and become a registered nurse, a Bachelor’s degree offers more options and job prospects in the future.
An Associate’s degree is obtained from a community college or technical school and takes between 12-24 months to complete. Students are trained in nursing theory and given clinical experience to help them with their transition into the workforce. In contrast, students who pursue a bachelor in nursing take 2 years of general studies courses and 2 years of nursing theory. They usually have a greater variety of clinical settings to choose from, and are given priority over Associate degree holders. A BSN gives individuals more flexibility in the future and is required if one wants to further their education and start a graduate program.
Online Nursing Programs in Massachusetts
Online programs offer flexibility and convenience to those who cannot travel to the campus. Currently, there are two programs that offer online nursing programs in Massachusetts: The University of Massachusetts Boston and Northeastern University.
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