How to Select a Nursing School in El Segundo California
Locating the right nursing program near El Segundo CA may feel like a complex endeavor, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various important additional considerations to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the El Segundo CA medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in El Segundo CA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse in El Segundo CA. And 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 advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by California community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire 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 acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in El Segundo CA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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 be sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in El Segundo CA. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it should be California approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the El Segundo CA area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to 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 own requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check 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 can be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more in demand way to get training and attain a nursing degree in California. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your El Segundo CA home, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. 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 commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school relative to El Segundo CA along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near El Segundo 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the El Segundo CA area school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the California school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local El Segundo 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 programs 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the El Segundo 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 clinical environment. Almost all El Segundo CA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Program near El Segundo CA
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing program is probably the most crucial step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous variables that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in El Segundo CA.
Why Did You Want to Be a 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 interviewers typically ask nursing applicants is "What made you decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a nurse, but also what attributes and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare several ideas about how you want to address them. Since there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the talents you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down several ideas and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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