How to Choose a Nursing Program in Foothill Ranch California
Selecting the best nursing college in Foothill Ranch CA may seem like a formidable undertaking, 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 proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the nursing school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are several crucial additional things to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system in Foothill Ranch CA. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses in Foothill Ranch CA with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse. 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 two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in Foothill Ranch CA.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in Foothill Ranch CA healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Foothill Ranch CA 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 job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained 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 can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Foothill Ranch CA board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, typically about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Foothill Ranch CA approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for Foothill Ranch CA to make certain that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local Foothill Ranch CA healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous 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 commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Foothill Ranch CA and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools in Foothill Ranch 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) 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 school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at 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. Also, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Foothill Ranch CA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Foothill Ranch CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Foothill Ranch CA clinical setting. Virtually all California nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Right RN School in Foothill Ranch CA
Selecting the right registered nursing college is arguably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are various variables that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is critical that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Foothill Ranch CA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not just the private reasons you may have for becoming a nurse, but also what characteristics and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should ready several approaches about how you would like to address them. Because there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down some ideas and anecdotes that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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