Massachusetts has proven itself to be a leader in higher education and healthcare technology. While the economy is steadily gaining momentum and recovering from the downfall, the healthcare sector in the United States is growing at a fast rate. Among the many states in the nation, the healthcare industry in Massachusetts reflects a positive employment outlook. According to DETMA, the economy of MA will expand by 6.3% and will add over 200,000 jobs by the year 2016. Over 83% of all new job openings will fall in the category of healthcare and social work. These figures reflect the growing career opportunities for individuals in healthcare.
Healthcare Education in Massachusetts
Massachusetts has a well-developed higher education system that comprises of many private and public colleges. The Department of Higher Education in Massachusetts is responsible for managing and overseeing the provision of post-secondary education services within the state. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges is the main regional accrediting agency that accredits schools in MA.
With the increasing demand of healthcare professionals, many individuals are enrolling in healthcare degree programs. Nursing is among the most popular academic choices. There are many different nursing degree programs being offered at schools in MA. These include the LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) degree, RN (Registered Nurse) degree, BSN (Bachelor of Science in nursing), and MSN (Master of Science in Nursing).
RN Programs in MA
Registered nurse programs are designed to prepare students for careers as RNs. This program can be pursued at many private and public nursing schools in the state. Students enrolled in RN programs can prepare for the NCLEX-RN licensing examination in MA, and begin their career as a registered nurse.
Although the program curriculum may vary a little from college to college; the basic purpose of RN degrees remains the same. Students will cover a wide range of subjects that emphasize nursing fundamental concepts. Students will cover important areas such as the following:
Anatomy and Physiology
This course will provide students with basic knowledge of human biology and allied health. Students will cover important topics relevant to the human body and its functions. Some key topics include endocrine systems, muscular and nervous systems, skeletal-articular systems, and more.
Foundation Nursing concepts
This course helps students build a solid foundation of nursing knowledge. Students will learn about the basic modes of healthcare services and role of nursing. Topics covered in the course include health promotion, effective healthcare, psychology, and more.
Basic Health Concepts for Nursing Practice
Students enrolled in this course will acquire in-depth knowledge of healthcare delivery systems and nursing. The course is designed to teach students about adult client nursing and health careers.
In this course, students will learn about the main forms and functions of microorganisms. The course will allow students to explore topics such as immunology, epidemiology, principles of asepsis, and cultivation of microbes.
Human growth and development
This course will explore physical, emotional, and cognitive areas related to the human life-cycle. Students will develop strong conceptual knowledge about developmental tasks.
Objectives of RN programs
Individuals who successfully complete an RN degree will be able to:
Make clinical decisions and administer effective nursing care
Provide effective healthcare services to the population
Diagnose and treat a range of illnesses
Assist physicians and collaborate with other healthcare professionals
Follow all professional standards in nursing healthcare
Educate the community about health and disease prevention
Plan and implement healthcare plans
Most nursing schools in MA offer practical training to students enrolled in RN programs. Becoming a nursing professional requires skill and training. Students are given practical training lessons in learning laboratories and simulated environments. Individuals can seek information about training facilities offered by schools by contacting them or visiting the official web page of the school.
The admission requirements of RN programs will vary from school to school. However, students will most likely be requested to submit the following documents:
High school diploma transcript
Letter of recommendation
Completed admission form
Apart from this, it is also important to complete nursing prerequisite courses that include anatomy, physiology, microbiology etc. Students must also have a minimum 70% score in all general science subjects.
An RN degree can take 2-3 years to complete. The exact length of the program will depend upon the school you enroll in. Students can also opt for an accelerated RN degree which takes less than usual time to complete.
Upon the completion of an RN degree in MA, all individuals must take the licensing examination known as the NCLEX-RN exam. This exam is conducted and revised by the Board of Registration in Nursing. This board works towards promoting the nursing occupation in Massachusetts. All nurses must be licensed by this board. The exam will evaluate an individual’s skill and level of expertise in nursing. Without a license, it is illegal to practice nursing.
Registered Nurses make up the largest sector of the workforce in the healthcare industry. These nurses are employed by all kinds of healthcare institutes such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and even medical research facilities. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of registered nurses in Massachusetts was $86,810 in 2011. There are currently over 80,000 employed registered nurses in this state. The demand for RN’s is steadily growing and expected to increase even more over the next few years.
Registered nurses are required to perform a variety of duties. Some of the tasks conducted by RNs include:
Checking and monitoring patients vital signs
Assisting doctors during surgery
Helping patients prepare for medical tests
Reviewing patients charts and history
Helping patients with dressing and changing
The nursing field comprises of many different sectors, allowing RNs to specialize in certain branches. Nursing is among the few occupations where professionals can expand their career and excel. Some of the most popular specialization areas include oncology nursing, pediatric nursing, geriatric nursing, emergency nursing, and healthcare administration. Becoming a registered nurse in MA can lead to challenging career opportunities.