How to Find the Right Nursing Program near Castaic California
Locating the best nursing school near Castaic CA may seem like a challenging endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various important additional things to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Castaic CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing 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 responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option offered 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 just 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Castaic CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 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 normally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When 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. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to contact the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Training
There are essentially two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest time frame, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option 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 advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferable 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 another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at Castaic CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required 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 minimum period of instruction directed and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also 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 certain that the training course 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 may be other requirements as well.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Castaic CA or online, you can utilize the following guidelines 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 reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
- 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. Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Castaic CA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the California school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Castaic 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Castaic CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Castaic CA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific 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 convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for many Castaic CA students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Castaic CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Castaic 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.
Castaic, California (also spelled Castec, or Kashtiq; pronunciation is a source of contention between older and newer residents, see below) is an unincorporated community located in the northern part of Los Angeles County, California. Many thousands of motorists pass through Castaic daily as they drive to or from Los Angeles on Interstate 5. Castaic Lake is part of the California Water Project and is the site of a hydro-electric power plant. Castaic is 41.7 miles (67.1 km) northwest of Los Angeles Union Station and due north of the city of Santa Clarita, California.
On Spanish documents, the original spelling was Castec, which represented the Chumash Native American word Kashtiq, meaning “eyes” or “wet spot.” Castec is first mentioned on old boundary maps of Rancho San Francisco, as a canyon at the trailhead leading to the old Chumash camp at Castac Lake (Tejon Ranch), which is intermittently wet and briny.
Modern Castaic began in 1887 when Southern Pacific set up a railroad siding on the line between Piru and Saugus Station, naming it "Castaic Junction". Between January and April 1890, the Castec School District adopted the new spelling, Castaic.
Enroll in the Right Nursing College near Castaic CA
Picking the right registered nursing college is perhaps the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Castaic CA.
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