How to Pick a Nursing College near Calistoga California
Finding the right nursing school near Calistoga CA may seem like a complicated undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are many important additional aspects to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Calistoga CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing 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 example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often 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 is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse. 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 continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Calistoga CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at 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 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 generally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained 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 vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are generally two academic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually 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 furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it needs to 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 course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Calistoga CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to 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 must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and every state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for California or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Calistoga CA or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Calistoga CA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary 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. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. 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 Calistoga CA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools 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 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 Calistoga CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Calistoga CA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend classes for many Calistoga CA students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. 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 work and family commitments 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 hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Calistoga CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Calistoga 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.
The Upper Napa Valley was once the home of a significant population of Indigenous People, called the Wappo during the Spanish colonial era of the late 18th century. With abundant oak trees providing acorns as a food staple and the natural hot springs as a healing ground Calistoga (Wappo: Nilektsonoma, "Chicken Hawk Place") was the site of several villages. Following Mexican Independence, mission properties were secularized and disposed of by the Mexican government with much of the Napa Valley being partitioned into large ranchos in the 1830s and 1840s. The first Anglo settlers began arriving in the 1840s, with several taking up lands in the Calistoga area.
Samuel Brannan was the leader of a settlement expedition on the ship Brooklyn landing in Yerba Buena (San Francisco) in 1846. He published San Francisco's first English language newspaper, the California Star. Following the discovery of gold in Coloma, Brannan pursued many business ventures, which made him California’s first millionaire and became a leader in San Francisco's Committee of Vigilance. Fascinated by Calistoga’s natural hot springs, Brannan purchased more than 2,000 acres (8 km2) with the intent to develop a spa reminiscent of Saratoga Springs in New York. "The name of Calistoga was given to the place in the fall of 1867, by Mr. Brannan. It was his boast that he was going to make the place the Saratoga of California, so he spliced the names and called it Cal (is) toga, the middle syllable for euphony. The place had already been previously called Hot Springs by the few Americans, and Agua Caliente by the Spaniards and Indians."
A writer later claimed that Brannan intended to say "I'll make this place the Saratoga of California," but it came out "the Calistoga of Sarifornia". His Hot Springs Resort surrounding Mt Lincoln with the Spa/Hotel located at what is now Indian Springs Resort, opened to California's rich and famous in 1862. In 1868 Brannan's Napa Valley Railroad Company's track was completed to Calistoga. This provided an easier travel option for ferry passengers making the journey from San Francisco. With the addition of railroad service, Calistoga became not only a destination, but also the transportation hub for the upper valley and a gateway to Lake and Sonoma Counties. A 6-meter diorama of this early Calistoga can be seen in the Sharpsteen Museum.
Select the Right Nursing College near Calistoga CA
Choosing the right registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this article, it is essential that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Calistoga CA.
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