How to Select a Nursing College in Stockton California
Selecting the best nursing program near Stockton CA may seem like a challenging project, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional factors to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Stockton CA medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the care 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 duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Stockton CA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse in Stockton CA. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 generally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Stockton CA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received 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 fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two academic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Stockton CA. The one that may be completed in the shortest period of time, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it needs to 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 adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Stockton CA area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training required and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for California to make sure 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 may be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree in California. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Stockton CA home, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school relative to Stockton CA along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
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 help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Stockton CA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Stockton CA area school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Stockton CA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Stockton CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Stockton CA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Program near Stockton CA
Enrolling in the right registered nursing school is perhaps the most crucial step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of variables that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this post, it is important that you pick 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 develop 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 Stockton CA.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's important to review questions you could be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers typically ask nursing applicants is "What made you decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a registered nurse, but additionally what attributes and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare some approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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