How to Select a Nursing College in Pittsburg California
Locating the right nursing program near Pittsburg CA may feel like a challenging endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are various key additional things to investigate before you make a decision 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, along with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Pittsburg CA medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to support 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 along with where they work. Some of the duties 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
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. 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 Pittsburg CA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in Pittsburg CA. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations 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 prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 typically a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Pittsburg CA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are generally two academic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Pittsburg CA. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time period, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying 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 kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be California approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests 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 training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Pittsburg CA area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction required and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets 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 is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to receive training and earn a nursing degree in California. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Pittsburg CA home, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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 family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school relative to Pittsburg CA as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other schools.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Pittsburg CA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Pittsburg CA area school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps 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 organizations for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Pittsburg 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 colleges 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Pittsburg CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Pittsburg CA area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN College near Pittsburg CA
Choosing the right registered nursing college is arguably the most important step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of variables that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Pittsburg CA.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Registered Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. Among the questions that recruiters typically ask nursing prospects is "What made you select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the private reasons you may have for being a RN, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize a number of ideas about how you want to address them. Because there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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