How to Enroll In a Nursing College in San Clemente California
Searching for the right nursing school near San Clemente CA may seem like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your home is probably not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are several essential additional things to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the San Clemente CA healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in San Clemente CA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse in San Clemente CA. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities 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) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 generally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in San Clemente CA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received 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 change from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are generally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in San Clemente CA. The one that may be completed in the shortest time frame, normally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second 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 finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it should 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 effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the San Clemente CA area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of training mandated and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise 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 sure that the education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to receive training and earn a nursing degree in California. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your San Clemente CA home, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school relative to San Clemente CA and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near San Clemente CA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the San Clemente CA area school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional San Clemente 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 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 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 San Clemente CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all San Clemente CA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Degree near San Clemente CA
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing school is potentially the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed in this post, it is critical that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in San Clemente CA.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the things that hiring managers typically ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a RN, but additionally what attributes and skills you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you must prepare a number of ideas about how you would like to address them. Since there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the talents you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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