How to Choose a Nursing Program in Shandon California
Searching for the best nursing program near Shandon CA may feel like a complicated endeavor, 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 receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are several important additional things to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Shandon CA medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing 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 deliver primary or specialty care services in Shandon CA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse in Shandon CA. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by California community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 normally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Shandon CA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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 can vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two academic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Shandon CA. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, normally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it should be California approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another 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.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Shandon CA area. The length of the instruction 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 mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training directed and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for California to make certain that the training 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 can be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more favored way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree in California. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Shandon CA home, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school relative to Shandon CA along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Shandon CA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Shandon CA area school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Shandon 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Shandon CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Shandon CA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right RN School near Shandon CA
Enrolling in the right registered nursing degree program is arguably the most important first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is essential that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Shandon CA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the things that hiring managers typically ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming a RN, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize several strategies about how you would like to address them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can address 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 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 some concepts and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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