How to Choose a Nursing College near Camp Pendleton California
Choosing the best nursing school near Camp Pendleton CA may feel like a complex endeavor, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are several essential additional aspects to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Camp Pendleton CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse. And 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 two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Camp Pendleton CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 typically a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After 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. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Training
There are essentially two academic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it should 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 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 need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at Camp Pendleton CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to 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 minimum amount of training required and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make certain that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for California or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Camp Pendleton CA or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Camp Pendleton CA for non-accredited schools.
- 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, contact the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Camp Pendleton CA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 dissatisfied 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 good reputation within the Camp Pendleton CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Camp Pendleton CA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many Camp Pendleton CA students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more 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 job and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Camp Pendleton CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Camp Pendleton 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.
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is the major West Coast base of the United States Marine Corps. It is located on the Southern California coast, in San Diego County, and bordered by Oceanside to the south, Cleveland National Forest, Orange and Riverside counties to the north, and Fallbrook to the east.
The base was established in 1942 to train U.S. Marines for service in World War II. By October 1944, Camp Pendleton was declared a "permanent installation" and by 1946, it became the home of the 1st Marine Division. It was named after Major General Joseph Henry Pendleton (1860–1942), who had long advocated setting up a training base for the Marine Corps on the west coast. Today it is the home to myriad Operating Force units including the I Marine Expeditionary Force and various training commands.
In 1769, a Spanish expedition led by Captain Gaspar de Portolá explored northward from Loreto, Baja California Sur, seeking to reach Monterey Bay, something never before done overland by Europeans. On July 20 of that year, the expedition arrived in the area now known as Camp Pendleton, and as it was the holy day of St. Margaret, they christened the land in the name of Santa Margarita. The expedition went on to establish military outposts and Franciscan missions at San Diego and Monterey.
Pick the Right Nursing School near Camp Pendleton CA
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing school is probably the most critical step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various variables that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Camp Pendleton CA.
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