How To Become A Nurse In Connecticut

Even though the job market is not as secure as everyone would like, a career in the medical field is one that is guaranteed to be stable. While there are many careers in the medial field, nursing is one of the most popular and in need. Going to school for nursing also gives you a variety of options depending on how long you want to stay in school and of course on your budget. If you have never worked in the nursing field you more than likely want to spend the least amount of time in school to be able to get some experience in the medical field and decide if it is for you before you spend four years in school and four years of student loans. You can become an LPN or License Practical Nurse in 12 to 18 months and while it does not allow you to provide advanced care, it still allows you to get a feel for what the nursing field is like. If you are currently an LPN or already work in the medical field, you would probably want to start out in school to be an RN or Registered Nurse as you are already familiar with what working as a nurse entails. When choosing to become and RN, you have choices as far as the level of RN you want to attain as well. You can get a two-year associate’s degree to work in general nursing, or get a bachelor’s degree, which allows you to work in specialized areas of nursing as well as nursing management. No matter how long you plan on spending in school, you want to make sure the program is accredited with the Connecticut Board of Examiners for Nursing. They assure that the program follows certain criteria so that you will be able to pass your licensing exam once you successfully complete your schooling.

LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse)

Completing an LPN training program is the quickest and least expensive way to get started in the nursing field. It only requires 12 to 18 months of school depending on if you are able to attend full-time or part-time. Most community colleges, technical schools and vocational schools offer LPN programs at a lesser cost than a four-year college would charge. Most programs are affordable and have flexible classes that you can schedule around your work schedule. Depending on the school you apply to their may be a waiting list as nursing programs are usually very popular. Even if you are put on waiting list, you can take your prerequisite classes and usually when you are close to completing those, you can start your actual nursing classes and focus more on those if your other classes are already completed. Wherever you attend, make sure the program is accredited through the Connecticut Board of Examiners for Nursing. You want to make sure the program you are taking is teaching the correct information that you will be tested on when you take your nursing exam to attain your license. The NCLEX-PN or National Council Licensure Exam for Practical Nurses is comprised of four sections with various types of nursing information that was included in your educational program. You must pass all sections of the exam in order to pass the exam in full and receive your LPN license.

Being an LPN does not allow you to provide a high level of care, but it does allow you to work in the nursing field and get an idea of what becoming a nurse involves. As an LPN, you have the narrowest scope of practice of all the nursing levels, which means you are, by law, only allowed to provide very limited care. You will be able to complete tasks with a definitive beginning and end and not require any judgment or decisions. You are also not permitted to pass medications or start or provide IV (intravenous) therapy as an LPN unless you attend further training in these areas. Depending on the facility you work, they may provide you with this training and even offer tuition assistance if you decide you want to further your nursing career.

RN (Registered Nurse)

If you already have experience in the medical field, you may choose to go to school to become an RN, skipping the LPN portion. When becoming an RN you have the choice of gaining your associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Which degree you choose will depend on most cases, your career goal and financial situation. If you are unsure if you want to work in a specialty area of nursing or unsure of what are you want to work in, it is a good idea to attain your associate’s degree then gain experience in the field. This will help you to decide if you want to return to school to work in a specific area of nursing with a bachelor’s degree. If you know what area of nursing you want to work in or your goal is to work in nursing management, then attaining your bachelor’s degree is probably the better decision. You may find community college’s that offer associate degree nursing programs, but if you have any intentions to return at some point to attain your bachelor’s degree, you should get your associate’s degree from a four-year college or university so going back to get a higher degree will be much easier. You also may want to check with your local hospitals to see if they have a school of nursing as well. Keep in mind that hospitals that have nursing schools usually have very small classes, a long waiting list and stricter requirements than most colleges or universities for admission. It is also a more structured environment, but also usually leads to a job in the hospital you are attending school. No matter where you attend school you want to make sure, as with any other nursing program, that is it accredited by the Connecticut Board of Examiners for Nursing. The Board makes sure that all nursing programs have a complete curriculum to ensure that you pass your state licensing exam. The exam for RN’s is the NCLEX-RN or National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses. Like the test for LPNs, it is comprised of four sections that must all be completed in order to pass the exam in its entirety and receive your state license.

Working as an RN with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree allows you to have a much larger scope of practice than an LPN. You will provide care that requires you to use your nursing judgment to assess patients as well as make decisions on their care and help plan their care as well. You will also, in many facilities, be responsible for supervising LPNs that work in your area or department.

Becoming an RN – Associate’s versus Bachelor’s degrees

Deciding between and Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree is a decision that should be based on your current medical field experience and your career goals. You also need to consider your financial situation as nursing school can be very demanding at higher levels. If you are financially unable to attend school for four years or are not sure if you want to work in general nursing or a specialty, you should attain your associates degree, enter the work force, then decide if you want to go back to school for your bachelor’s degree. If you know that you want to work in a specific specialty or want to work in nursing management, you probably want to enroll to attain your bachelor’s degree. Keep in mind that if you have a lower degree, many facilities offer tuition assistance programs to help you further your degree after a certain length of employment.

All nursing degrees require you to keep up to date on your nursing skills. For this reason, you are required to attain a certain number of CE or Continuing Education credits per year. These are usually offered once a month and depending on the size of the facility you work in, they may be offered on site to employees. If you work in a smaller facility or the CE courses are at an inconvenient time, you can take these courses online for credit as well.

Nursing Schools in Connecticut

While LPN programs are offered at a majority of technical schools, vocational schools and community colleges in Connecticut, the following schools are based on those attending for an RN degree of any level.

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Nursing School Locations

Yale University
100 Church Street
PO Box 9740
New Haven, CT 06536-0740
Phone: (203) 737-2557

University of Connecticut
231 Glen Brook Road
Storrs, CT 06269-2026
Phone: (860) 486-3716

Fairfield University
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
Phone: (203) 254-4000

University of Hartford
200 Bloomfield Avenue
West Hartford, CT 06117-1599
Phone: (860)768-4100

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