How to Find the Right Nursing Program near Santa Ana California
Choosing the best nursing school near Santa Ana CA may feel like a challenging project, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many future students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are several essential additional things 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 health system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Santa Ana CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex 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 deliver 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 offered 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 just 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 Santa Ana CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire 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 typically a two year program after achieving 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) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Training
There are essentially two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, generally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The benefit 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. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it should be California approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another 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.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at Santa Ana CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for California or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for many Santa Ana CA students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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 household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Santa Ana CA or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Santa Ana CA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ 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. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the California school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Santa Ana 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 schools 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Santa Ana CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Santa Ana CA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Santa Ana CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Santa Ana 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.
Santa Ana, California
Santa Ana /ˌsæntə ˈænə/ (Spanish for "Saint Anne") is the county seat and second most populous city in Orange County, California. The United States Census Bureau estimated its 2011 population at 329,427, making Santa Ana the 57th most-populous city in the United States.
Santa Ana is located in Southern California, adjacent to the Santa Ana River, about 10 miles (16 km) away from the California coast. Founded in 1869, the city is part of the Greater Los Angeles Area, the second largest metropolitan area in the United States with almost 18 million residents in 2010. Santa Ana is a very densely populated city, ranking fourth nationally in that regard among cities of over 300,000 residents (trailing only New York City, San Francisco, and Boston). In 2011 Forbes ranked Santa Ana the fourth-safest city of over 250,000 residents in the United States.
Santa Ana lends its name to the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5), which runs through the city. It also shares its name with the nearby Santa Ana Mountains, and the Santa Ana winds, which have historically fueled seasonal wildfires throughout Southern California. The current Office of Management and Budget (OMB) metropolitan designation for the Orange County Area is Santa Ana–Anaheim–Irvine, California.
Pick the Right Nursing School near Santa Ana CA
Picking the right nursing college is perhaps the most crucial step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many aspects that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Santa Ana CA.
More Nursing School Locations in California
Business Results 1 - 10 of 464