How to Choose a Nursing Program near Fulton California
Searching for the right nursing college near Fulton CA may feel like a complicated project, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is local to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various crucial additional considerations to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Fulton CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job 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 as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating 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 responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally 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.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Fulton CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly 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 might want 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 normally a 2 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.
When a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Further 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 Programs
There are basically two academic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind 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 warrants that the course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at Fulton CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training 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 instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and every state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise 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 certain that the education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Fulton CA or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, 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 so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, 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 other schools.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you get a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Fulton CA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, 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 meet the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, 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 Fulton 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 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 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 Fulton CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Fulton CA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more in demand way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for some Fulton CA students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward 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 Fulton CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Fulton 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.
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Pick the Right Nursing Program near Fulton CA
Enrolling in the right registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are various factors that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this article, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Fulton CA.
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