How to Select a Nursing Program near Santa Rosa California
Searching for the best nursing school near Santa Rosa 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 presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your residence is no doubt not the best way to select a nursing program. There are various important additional things to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Santa Rosa CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role 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 as well as where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining 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 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.
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Santa Rosa CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two scholastic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest period of time, generally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter 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 warrants that the core curriculum 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 obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Santa Rosa CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated 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 minimum period of training required and every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also 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 certain that the training 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
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many Santa Rosa CA students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Santa Rosa CA or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Santa Rosa 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific 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 an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Santa Rosa 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 dissatisfied 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 good reputation within the Santa Rosa CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Santa Rosa CA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Santa Rosa CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Santa Rosa 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 Rosa, California
Santa Rosa (lit. Spanish for "Saint Rose") is a city in and the county seat of Sonoma County, in California's Wine Country. Its estimated 2016 population was 175,155. Santa Rosa is the largest city in California's Redwood Empire, Wine Country and the North Bay; the fifth most populous city in the San Francisco Bay Area after San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, and Fremont; and the 28th most populous city in California.
Santa Rosa was founded in 1833 and named after Saint Rose of Lima. Before the arrival of Europeans, the Santa Rosa Plain was home to a strong and populous tribe of Pomo natives known as the Bitakomtara. The Bitakomtara controlled the area closely, barring passage to others until permission was arranged. Those who entered without permission were subject to harsh penalties. The tribe gathered at ceremonial times on Santa Rosa Creek near present-day Spring Lake Regional Park. Upon the arrival of Europeans, the Pomos were decimated by smallpox brought from Europe, and by the eradication efforts of Anglo settlers. By 1900 the Pomo population had decreased by 95%.
The first known permanent European settlement of Santa Rosa was the homestead of the Carrillo family, in-laws to Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, who settled the Sonoma pueblo and Petaluma area. In the 1830s, during the Mexican period, the family of María López de Carrillo built an adobe house on their Rancho Cabeza de Santa Rosa land grant, just east of what later became downtown Santa Rosa. Allegedly, however, by the 1820s, before the Carrillos built their adobe in the 1830s, Spanish and Mexican settlers from nearby Sonoma and other settlements to the south raised livestock in the area and slaughtered animals at the fork of the Santa Rosa Creek and Matanzas Creek, near the intersection of modern-day Santa Rosa Avenue and Sonoma Avenue. This is supposedly the origin of the name of Matanzas Creek as, because of its use as a slaughtering place, the confluence came to be called La Matanza.
Choose the Right Nursing Program near Santa Rosa CA
Choosing the right nursing program is perhaps the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of variables that you should think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Santa Rosa CA.
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