How to Find the Right Nursing School in Lakewood California
Choosing the best nursing college near Lakewood CA may feel like a complicated project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least costly program or the one that is local to your house is probably not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are various key additional aspects to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Lakewood CA healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing 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 typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Lakewood CA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse in Lakewood 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 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 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 wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Lakewood CA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are principally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Lakewood CA. The one that may be finished in the shortest time frame, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be California approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Lakewood CA area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have 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 mandated and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial 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 suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for California to make certain that the training course is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to receive training and earn a nursing degree in California. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Lakewood CA home, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, 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. Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school relative to Lakewood CA along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Lakewood CA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Lakewood CA area school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the California school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Lakewood CA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Lakewood CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Lakewood CA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Program near Lakewood CA
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing degree program is potentially the most critical step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many aspects that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is critical that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Lakewood CA.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's important to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers typically ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the private reasons you may have for being a registered nurse, but additionally what attributes and skills you possess that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare some approaches about how you would like to address them. Because there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down a few concepts and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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