How to Pick a Nursing Program near Lake Arrowhead California
Searching for the right nursing school near Lake Arrowhead CA may seem like a complex undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many future students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are several key additional aspects to check into before you determine 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 medical care system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Lake Arrowhead CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating 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 typically 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 Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Lake Arrowhead CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 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 commonly 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.
Once a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are basically two scholastic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time frame, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish 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 warrants 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 some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Lake Arrowhead CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction mandated and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills 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 training course is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Lake Arrowhead CA or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, 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 select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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 verify that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Lake Arrowhead CA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified 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 delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. 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 Lake Arrowhead 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 colleges 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Lake Arrowhead CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Lake Arrowhead CA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend college for some Lake Arrowhead CA students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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. Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Lake Arrowhead CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Lake Arrowhead 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.
Lake Arrowhead, California
Lake Arrowhead is an unincorporated community and a census-designated place (CDP) in the San Bernardino Mountains of San Bernardino County, California, within the San Bernardino National Forest, surrounding the Lake Arrowhead Reservoir. Lake Arrowhead consists of 6 communities including Lake Arrowhead, Twin Peaks, Blue Jay, Cedar Glen, Sky Forest, and Rim Forest. The population of the CDP was estimated at 12,424 in the 2010 census. It was formerly called "Little Bear Lake", until around 1920, when a group from Los Angeles, the Arrowhead Lake Company, bought the lake and the land surrounding it, and changed its name to Arrowhead Lake.
Tourism is the primary economic generator for the area, contributing several million dollars per year to the county and providing 600 full-time and 700 part-time jobs for local residents. The area is host to over 4 million visitors a year. There are 400 guestrooms in hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts, vacation cabin rentals, condos, and rustic cabin lodges and resorts. The Lake Arrowhead community is home to the Lake Arrowhead Country Club and Golf Course and SkyPark at Santa's Village. The area is also popular for business conferences.
As a scenic mountain resort in the San Bernardino Mountains, Lake Arrowhead's economy is almost completely supported by tourism, both by casual vacationers and part-time residents. The primary tourism industries include real estate, lodging, dining, recreation, and retail sales.
Select the Right Nursing School near Lake Arrowhead CA
Deciding on the right registered nursing program is arguably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various variables that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is essential that you select 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 develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Lake Arrowhead CA.
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