How to Select a Nursing College in Rancho Cordova California
Finding the right nursing college near Rancho Cordova CA may feel like a difficult undertaking, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional things to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Rancho Cordova CA medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Rancho Cordova CA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in Rancho Cordova CA. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by California community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 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 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 commonly a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Rancho Cordova CA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Rancho Cordova CA. The one that may be completed in the shortest period of time, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option 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, in addition to offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, 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 course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Rancho Cordova CA area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and each state has its own requirements. 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 recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for California to make sure that the training is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree in California. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Rancho Cordova CA home, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen 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 start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school relative to Rancho Cordova CA as well as the price 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 sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Rancho Cordova CA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Rancho Cordova CA area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, contact the California school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Rancho Cordova 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 colleges you are considering 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Rancho Cordova CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Rancho Cordova CA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Degree near Rancho Cordova CA
Choosing the ideal registered nursing program is perhaps the most important step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many aspects that you must think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed in this content, it is critical that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Rancho Cordova CA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Registered Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers typically ask nursing prospects is "What made you choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a nurse, but additionally what attributes and talents you possess that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should ready several ideas about how you want to answer them. Because there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the talents you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the best candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down several concepts and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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