How to Select a Nursing Program near Pleasant Hill California
Finding the best nursing school near Pleasant Hill CA may seem like a formidable endeavor, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are several essential additional aspects to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Pleasant Hill CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Pleasant Hill CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 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 desire 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 usually a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers 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, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest amount of time, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more extensive 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 any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of 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 instruction can be acquired at Pleasant Hill 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 required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies 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 is state certified. As well as 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.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Many 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 completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend college for some Pleasant Hill CA students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Pleasant Hill CA or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Pleasant Hill CA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain 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 attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Pleasant Hill 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 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Pleasant Hill CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships 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. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Pleasant Hill CA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Pleasant Hill CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Pleasant Hill 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.
Pleasant Hill, California
Pleasant Hill is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States, in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area. The population was 33,152 at the 2010 census. It was incorporated in 1961. Pleasant Hill is the home of College Park High School, Diablo Valley College, John F Kennedy University, the Pleasant Hill Library and administration offices for the Contra Costa County Library system, and the Pleasant Hill Recreation & Park District.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.1 square miles (18 km2). Pleasant Hill has a varied landscape with some valleys and rolling hills. In undisturbed wilderness, oak woodlands and mixed woods can be found. It is located in the central East San Francisco Bay.
This region has warm and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius) According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Pleasant Hill has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps. Winter daytime temperatures tend to be in the fifties and sixties, and summers range in the high seventies to upper eighties, occasionally reaching the low nineties. On very rare occasions, the temperatures can reach the one hundred degree range during extreme heat waves. Freezing in winter is rare, but it does happen. Summer fog is occasional but winter fog is very common.
Pick the Right Nursing Degree near Pleasant Hill CA
Selecting the ideal nursing college is perhaps the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous aspects that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this article, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care 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 right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Pleasant Hill CA.
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