Become a Nurse | Nursing Schools Petaluma CA

How to Choose a Nursing School near Petaluma California

Petaluma CA pediatric nurse holding babyChoosing the right nursing college near Petaluma CA may feel like a difficult endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various crucial additional aspects to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Petaluma CA Registered Nurse (RN)Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Petaluma CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help 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 few of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver 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 in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Petaluma CA area.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
  • Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 employment market.
  • Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus 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) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.

LPN and LVN Courses

Petaluma CA geriatric nurse with patientThere are generally two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be California approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants 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.

CNA Diplomas

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at Petaluma CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program 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 obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure 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 suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.

Online Nursing Schools

female student attending nursing school online in Petaluma CAEnrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend college for many Petaluma CA students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. 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 household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

What to Ask Nursing Colleges

Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Petaluma CA or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, 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 earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares 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. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Petaluma 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific 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 excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the California school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Petaluma 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 colleges 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 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Petaluma CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost 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 Petaluma CA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Enrolling in a Nursing School near Petaluma CA?

Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Petaluma 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.

Petaluma, California

Petaluma /pɛtəˈluːmə/ is a city in Sonoma County, in California's Wine Country, part of the North Bay sub-region of the San Francisco Bay Area, located 37 mi (60 km) north of San Francisco. Its population was 57,941 according to the 2010 Census.[6]

The Rancho Petaluma Adobe, located in Petaluma, is a National Historic Landmark. Its construction started in 1836 by order of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, then Commandant of the San Francisco Presidio. It was the center of a 66,000 acre (270-km²) ranch stretching from Petaluma River to Sonoma Creek. The adobe is considered one of the best preserved buildings of its era in Northern California.

The Coast Miwok resided in southern Sonoma County, and Péta Lúuma was originally the name of a Miwok village east of the Petaluma River. A number of other Coast Miwok villages were also located in and around what is now Petaluma; Wotoki, immediately to the south of the village of Petaluma, on the opposite side of the river, Etem, Likatiut, and Tuchayalin, near downtown Petaluma, and Tulme and Susuli, just north of what are now the city limits of Petaluma.[11]

Enroll in the Right Nursing Program near Petaluma CA

Petaluma CA Neonatal Nurse with newborn babyDeciding on the ideal nursing college is potentially the most crucial step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are various variables that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed within this content, it is essential that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Petaluma CA.

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