How to Enroll In a Nursing School in Washington California
Selecting the right nursing school near Washington CA may seem like a difficult endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is closest to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are several key additional aspects to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Washington CA medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to support 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 along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex 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 Washington CA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse in Washington CA. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in 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 brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a four 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 wish to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Washington CA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Training
There are principally two academic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Washington CA. The one that may be completed in the shortest time frame, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it needs to 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 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 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 Washington CA area. 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 receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training required and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary 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 tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for California to make sure that the training is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree in California. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Washington CA home, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. 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 obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines 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 necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school relative to Washington CA along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.
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 organization. Aside from helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Washington CA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Washington CA area school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at online rating services 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, check with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Washington 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 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 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Washington CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Washington CA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN College near Washington CA
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing college is probably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of aspects that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is critical that you select an RN college 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 develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Washington CA.
Why Did You Decide to Become an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's important to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a nurse, but also what qualities and abilities you have that make you outstanding 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 need to organize some ideas about how you want to address them. Because there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an excellent nurse and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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