How to Choose a Nursing College near Dana Point California
Selecting the right nursing program near Dana Point CA may feel like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of key additional factors to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Dana Point CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role 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 portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping 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 commonly 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 several degree options to choose from 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 attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Dana Point CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps 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 subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 generally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Training
There are generally two scholastic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind 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 attests that the core curriculum 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 instruction can be received at Dana Point CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training required and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for California or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact 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 may be additional requirements as well.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Dana Point CA or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within 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 mentioned, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably 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 choice, use the following questions to see how your pick 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 confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Dana Point CA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ 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. 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 attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
- 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. Also, contact the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Dana Point 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 programs you are considering 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Dana Point CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Dana Point CA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend school for many Dana Point CA students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Dana Point CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Dana Point 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.
Dana Point, California
Dana Point is a city located in southern Orange County, California. The population was 33,351 at the 2010 census. It has one of the few harbors along the Orange County coast, and with ready access via State Route 1, it is a popular local destination for surfing.
The city was named after the headland of Dana Point, which was in turn named after Richard Henry Dana, Jr., author of Two Years Before the Mast, which included a description of the area. Dana described the locale, including neighboring San Juan Capistrano, as "the only romantic spot on the coast". Although Dana described the anchorage as poor, it is now a developed harbor and contains a replica of his ship, the Pilgrim. The Pilgrim is used as a classroom by the Ocean Institute, which is located at the harbor. This area is designated California Historical Landmark #189.
Dana Point was a popular port for ships involved with the hide trade with nearby Mission San Juan Capistrano. Trading reached its peak in the 1830s and 1840s. In 1818, Argentine sailor Hippolyte de Bouchard anchored there while conducting his raid on the mission. Richard Henry Dana then visited the area in 1835 while serving aboard the sailing brig Pilgrim on her voyage along the California coastline.
Pick the Right Nursing Program near Dana Point CA
Picking the ideal registered nursing college is potentially the most important step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are numerous aspects that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within 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 medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Dana Point CA.
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