How to Choose a Nursing Program in Eureka California
Searching for the right nursing college near Eureka CA may seem like a challenging project, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are various key additional considerations to explore before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Eureka CA healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Eureka CA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse in Eureka CA. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by California community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Eureka CA or concentrate 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) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are basically two academic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Eureka CA. The one that can be completed in the shortest time period, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it needs to be California approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Eureka CA area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain 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 training mandated and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for California to make sure that the training is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree in California. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Eureka CA home, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school relative to Eureka CA and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Eureka CA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Eureka CA area school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the California school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Eureka CA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Eureka CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Eureka CA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Degree near Eureka CA
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing school is potentially the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Eureka CA.
Why Did You Want to Become a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers frequently ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the private reasons you may have for becoming a nurse, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should organize a number of ideas about how you would like to address them. Considering there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the leading candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down a few concepts and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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