How to Select a Nursing Program in Fairfield California
Finding the best nursing school near Fairfield CA may seem like a complex endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many future students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are various key additional things to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Fairfield CA healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting 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 advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Fairfield CA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse in Fairfield CA. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 generally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Fairfield CA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has earned 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. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are basically two academic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Fairfield CA. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time period, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it needs to be California approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Fairfield CA area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for California to make certain that the training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree in California. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Fairfield CA home, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, 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 household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school relative to Fairfield CA and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before 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 as well as the 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 obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Fairfield CA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Fairfield CA area school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the California school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Fairfield CA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools you are considering 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Fairfield CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Fairfield CA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN School near Fairfield CA
Picking the ideal registered nursing degree program is potentially the most critical first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of variables that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed in this article, it is critical that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Fairfield CA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the private reasons you might have for being a RN, but additionally what attributes and talents you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must prepare several approaches about how you want to address them. Considering there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the best choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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