How to Select a Nursing Program near Big Bear Lake California
Choosing the right nursing school near Big Bear Lake CA may seem like a complicated undertaking, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many future students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are many crucial additional aspects to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Big Bear Lake CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Big Bear Lake CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two academic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it should be California approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus properly 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 attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Big Bear Lake CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction 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 mandated to have 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 minimum period of instruction required and every state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for California or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course 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 may be additional prerequisites as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Big Bear Lake CA or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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 organization. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Big Bear Lake CA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the California school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Big Bear Lake 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 schools 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Big Bear Lake CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Big Bear Lake CA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some Big Bear Lake CA students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive 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 a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like 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 pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Big Bear Lake CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Big Bear Lake California area. If that is the case, then the following information may prove to be both educational and useful regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Big Bear Lake, California
Big Bear Lake is a small city in San Bernardino County, California, located in the San Bernardino Mountains along the south shore of Big Bear Lake, and surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest. The city is located about 25 miles (40 km) northeast of the city of San Bernardino, and immediately west of the unincorporated town of Big Bear City. The population was approximately 5,019 at the 2010 census, down from 5,438 at the 2000 census. Being a popular year-round resort destination, however, the actual number of people staying in or visiting the greater Big Bear Valley area regularly surges to over 100,000 during many weekends of the year.
Big Bear Lake was inhabited by the indigenous Serrano Indians for over 2,000 years before it was explored by Benjamin Wilson and his party. Once populated by only the natives and the grizzly bears, from which the area received its name, the population of the Big Bear Valley grew rapidly during the Southern California Gold Rush from 1861 to 1912. Grizzly bears were not found in the region after 1908. Today, there are black bears in the region since their introduction in 1933, and they are sometimes sighted in residential areas.
A trip to Big Bear Lake from San Bernardino took two days on horse-drawn coaches. Kirk Phillips was a local who took a trip to New York City and saw the world's first bus line. This inspired him to create the world's second bus line from San Bernardino to Big Bear Valley using White trucks with several rows of seats. This made it possible for the villages to grow and for Big Bear Lake to become the first mountain recreation area in Southern California.
Pick the Right Nursing School near Big Bear Lake CA
Selecting the ideal registered nursing school is potentially the most critical phase to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various aspects that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list 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 drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Big Bear Lake CA.
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