How to Choose a Nursing College in Hilmar California
Finding the best nursing college near Hilmar CA may feel like a formidable undertaking, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various crucial additional considerations to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Hilmar CA medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Hilmar CA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse in Hilmar CA. And in order 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 attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by California community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 usually a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Hilmar CA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to contact the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two academic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Hilmar CA. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it should be California approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of 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 Hilmar CA area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also 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 certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree in California. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Hilmar CA home, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. 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. So if your work and household obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school relative to Hilmar CA and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.
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. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Hilmar CA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different 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. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Hilmar CA area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each 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 check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Hilmar 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 programs you are considering 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Hilmar CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Hilmar CA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN College near Hilmar CA
Selecting the right registered nursing college is perhaps the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many aspects that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this article, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose 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 Hilmar CA.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that recruiters often ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a RN, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, in addition to a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must ready several strategies about how you want to respond to them. Since there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you along with the strengths you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the leading choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down several concepts and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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