How to Select a Nursing Program in Norco California
Finding the right nursing school near Norco CA may feel like a formidable undertaking, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are several key additional considerations to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Norco CA healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced 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 administer primary or specialty care services in Norco CA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse in Norco CA. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve 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 generally a two year program offered by California community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually 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 may wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Norco CA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Norco CA. The one that may be completed in the shortest period of time, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, 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 most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Norco CA area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three 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 training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training mandated and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for California to make certain that the education is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more preferred way to get training and attain a nursing degree in California. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Norco CA home, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school relative to Norco CA along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Norco CA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required 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 Norco CA area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional 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 companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Norco 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 looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Norco CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Norco CA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Program near Norco CA
Selecting the right registered nursing degree program is probably the most critical step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many aspects that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is important that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Norco CA.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's important to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers often ask nursing prospects is "What made you decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the private reasons you may have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to ready some approaches about how you want to address them. Because there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the strengths you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the leading choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down a few ideas and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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