How to Choose a Nursing Program near Newcastle California
Searching for the right nursing program near Newcastle CA may feel like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is local to your house is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional considerations to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Newcastle CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common 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 attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Newcastle CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want to progress 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 achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are principally two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest time frame, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying 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 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 attests that the course of study 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 education can be received at Newcastle CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required 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 period of instruction mandated and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for California or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Newcastle CA or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- 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 agency. In addition to helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Newcastle CA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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 specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. 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 Newcastle 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 colleges 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Newcastle CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
- 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Newcastle CA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more in demand way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Newcastle CA students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many 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 responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Newcastle CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Newcastle 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.
Newcastle was founded in the 19th century. According to Transcontinental Railroad Landmarks the "Regular freight and passenger trains began operating over the first 31 miles of Central Pacific's line to Newcastle June 10, 1864, when political opposition and lack of money stopped further construction during that mild winter. Construction was resumed in April, 1865." The region is also in the vicinity of what was the cradle of "gold country", where in the mid-19th century a flurry of miners and gold prospectors searched for their fortune. During this time however, the town of Newcastle was known more for its orchards rather than abundant gold mines.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Newcastle had a population of 1,224. The population density was 510.8 people per square mile (197.2/km²). The racial makeup of Newcastle was 1,113 (90.9%) White, 104 (8.5%) Hispanic or Latino of any race, 19 (1.6%) Native American, 17 (1.4%) Asian, 7 (0.6%) African American, 35 (2.9%) from other races, and 33 (2.7%) were from two or more races.
There were 545 households, out of which 115 (21.1%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 258 (47.3%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 42 (7.7%) had a female householder with no husband present, 23 (4.2%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 25 (4.6%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 2 (0.4%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 186 households (34.1%) were made up of individuals and 117 (21.5%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23. There were 323 families (59.3% of all households); the average family size was 2.86.
Pick the Right Nursing Degree near Newcastle CA
Picking the ideal registered nursing college is potentially the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous variables that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Newcastle CA.
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