How to Choose a Nursing College near Oakhurst California
Selecting the right nursing school near Oakhurst CA may feel like a complicated undertaking, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are many crucial additional considerations to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Oakhurst CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly 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.
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Oakhurst CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally 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 might wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a two year program after receiving 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 acquired one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are generally two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it needs to 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 adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at Oakhurst CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have 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 minimal period of instruction mandated and every state has its own requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also 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 education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for some Oakhurst CA students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Oakhurst CA or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin 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 necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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. Aside from helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Oakhurst CA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Oakhurst 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased 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 Oakhurst CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Oakhurst CA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Oakhurst CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Oakhurst 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.
Oakhurst (formerly Fresno Flats) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Madera County, California, 14 miles (23 km) south of the entrance to Yosemite National Park, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. At the 2010 census, the population was 2,829, down from 2,868 at the 2000 census. According to the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce, the area population was 12,787 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Madera–Chowchilla metropolitan statistical area.
Oakhurst is located on the Fresno River 3 miles (4.8 km) south-southwest of Yosemite Forks, at an elevation of 2274 feet (693 m). Its coordinates are 37°19′41″N 119°38′58″W / 37.32806°N 119.64944°W / 37.32806; -119.64944. It is located at the junction of state highways 41 and 49, at the southern end of California's Gold Country. Nearby communities include Ahwahnee, Coarsegold and Bass Lake.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 6.006 square miles (15.56 km2), of which 5.999 square miles (15.54 km2) is land and 0.007 sq mi (0.018 km2) (0.12%) is water.
Enroll in the Right Nursing Program near Oakhurst CA
Deciding on the ideal nursing program is arguably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of aspects that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist 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 practicing RN in Oakhurst CA.
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