How to Pick a Nursing Program near La Jolla California
Selecting the right nursing program near La Jolla CA may seem like a complex project, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence is no doubt not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of key 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 go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as La Jolla CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the La Jolla CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 commonly a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus 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) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are basically two scholastic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time frame, generally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish 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 attests that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at La Jolla CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make sure 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 contact 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.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near La Jolla CA or online, 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 essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the field.
- 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 agency. Aside from helping verify that you get a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in La Jolla 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps 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 reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some La Jolla 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the La Jolla CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with La Jolla CA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for some La Jolla CA students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. 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. And so if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near La Jolla CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater La Jolla 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.
La Jolla (/ləˈhɔɪ.ə/; Spanish: [la ˈxoʎa]) is a hilly seaside and affluent community within the city of San Diego, California, United States occupying 7 miles (11 km) of curving coastline along the Pacific Ocean within the northern city limits.
The population reported in the 2010 Census was 46,781. The 2004 estimated population was 42,808. La Jolla is surrounded on three sides by ocean bluffs and beaches and is located 12 miles (19 km) north of Downtown San Diego, and 40 miles (64 km) south of Orange County, The climate is mild, with an average daily temperature of 70.5 °F (21.4 °C)
La Jolla is home to a variety of businesses in the areas of lodging, dining, shopping, software, finance, real estate, bioengineering, medical practice and scientific research. The University of California San Diego (UCSD) is located in La Jolla, as are the Salk Institute, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (part of UCSD), Scripps Research Institute, and the headquarters of National University (though its academic campuses are elsewhere).
Select the Right Nursing College near La Jolla CA
Selecting the right registered nursing program is arguably the most important first step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are many aspects that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this post, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in La Jolla CA.
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