How to Choose a Nursing School near Los Alamitos California
Locating the right nursing program near Los Alamitos CA may seem like a complex undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of key additional considerations to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Los Alamitos CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Los Alamitos CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 typically a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Training
There are generally two academic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest time frame, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with 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 seek, 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 adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at Los Alamitos CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 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 must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally 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 sure that the training course is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Los Alamitos CA or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Los Alamitos CA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different 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 certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Los Alamitos 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 considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish 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 Los Alamitos CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Los Alamitos CA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for many Los Alamitos CA students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Los Alamitos CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Los Alamitos 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.
Los Alamitos, California
Los Alamitos ("The Little Cottonwoods" in Spanish) is a city in Orange County, California. The city was incorporated in March 1960. The population was 11,449 at the 2010 census, down from 11,536 at the 2000 census. It is often mistakenly thought[who?] to include the adjacent but unincorporated community of Rossmoor (population just under 11,000), which uses Los Alamitos as its mailing address. Although bearing the city’s name, the Los Alamitos Race Course actually lies in the neighboring city of Cypress.
The history of the area during the Californio period and after U.S. annexation is detailed in the article on Rancho Los Alamitos. The town of Los Alamitos was established in 1896 by Lewellyn Bixby to support the new sugar beet factory in town built by the extremely wealthy Clark Brothers. William Andrews Clark, a future Senator from Montana, had built his fortune in mining, banking and logging in that state. His younger brother, J. Ross Clark, managed their operations in California after he moved to that state for health reasons. Lewellyn Bixby, whose family owned the surrounding land on the Rancho Los Cerritos and Rancho Los Alamitos, had been trying to build a sugar beet factory in that area for a few years but, due to financial losses in the 1880s, he no longer had the financial capital to undertake the sugar beet factory complex on his own. Bixby had made his fortune back in the 1850s when he and his cousins Benjamin and Thomas Flint, formed Flint, Bixby & Co. which became a thriving entity in mutton and wool, all originally housed on the Rancho San Justo, south of San Jose. After making an additional fortune from selling wool to the government during the Civil War, the Flints and Bixby bought up many properties in Southern California. One was the future Irvine Ranch and another was the Rancho Los Cerritos which makes up much of the western half of Long Beach. Flint, Bixby hired Lewellyn's younger brother Jotham to manage the Cerritos. When Flint, Bixby broke up Lewellyn assumed their Southern California properties and moved to Los Angeles and became the senior partner in his operations with his brother Jotham.
Around 1881, a cousin, John W. Bixby wanted to purchase the Rancho Los Alamitos. John W. put together a consortium of himself, his cousins Lewellyn and Jotham (owners of Rancho Los Cerritos) and banker I.W. Hellman to finance the purchase of the Alamitos land. Upon John's sudden death on 7 May 1887, the ranch was divided between the three owning families. The northern third adjacent to the Rancho Los Cerritos — the land roughly north of present Orangewood Ave.—went to the Lewellyn-Jotham faction (which later became the Bixby Land Company). By the mid-1890s, after the crash following the land boom of the 1880s—this group was relatively cash-poor and land rich. Having experimented in Northern California with sugar beets, the Bixbys agreed to provide the land, and contracted with Montana copper baron William A. Clark to provide the capital, and got E.A. Dyer to provide the expertise to build a new sugar beet factory on the Bixby's land. The community that grew up around this new sugar beet factory complex—with its streets of company houses for workers and surrounding farms—came to be called Los Alamitos. (As part of his arrangement to build and operate the sugar beet factory, William Clark and his brother H. Ross, who actually ran the Los Alamitos operation, also received 1,000 acres east of the factory and a year later completed a purchase of 8,000 acres (32 km2) of land north of the sugar plant—most of the latter in the Rancho Los Cerritos boundaries—that would eventually become the Long Beach Airport, Long Beach City College, and the city of Lakewood. Also, Clark and Hellman were intricately involved with the machinations and corporate dealings of railroad tycoon E. H. Harriman and Henry Edwards Huntington and the destiny of the Southern Pacific in Southern California. In addition, some time after establishing Los Alamitos, the Clarks completed their railroad from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City, establishing the desert stop of Las Vegas in the process.
Choose the Right Nursing Degree near Los Alamitos CA
Picking the right registered nursing program is potentially the most critical first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of factors that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose 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 licensed registered nurse in Los Alamitos CA.
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