How to Find the Right Nursing Program near Stockton California
Finding the best nursing college near Stockton CA may feel like a difficult project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly college or the one that is local to your home is probably not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are various crucial additional factors to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Stockton CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role 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 in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally 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.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option 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 earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Stockton CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want to progress 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 obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has earned 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. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it should be California approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees 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 have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at Stockton CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 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 have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally 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 is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Stockton CA students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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. So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Stockton CA or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout 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 already discussed, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 agency. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Stockton CA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary 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. Some states require a specified 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 provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. 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 Stockton 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 considering 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Stockton CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Stockton CA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Stockton CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Stockton 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.
Stockton is a city in and the county seat of San Joaquin County in the Central Valley of the U.S. state of California. Stockton was founded by Captain Charles Maria Weber in 1849 after he acquired Rancho Campo de los Franceses. The city is named after Robert F. Stockton, and it was the first community in California to have a name not of Spanish or Native American origin. The city is located on the San Joaquin River in the northern San Joaquin Valley and had an estimated population of 320,554 by the California Department of Finance for 2017. Stockton is the 13th largest city in California and the 63rd largest city in the United States. It was named an All-America City in 1999, 2004, 2015 and again in 2017.
Built during the California Gold Rush, Stockton's seaport serves as a gateway to the Central Valley and beyond. It provided easy access for trade and transportation to the southern gold mines. The University of the Pacific (UOP), chartered in 1851, is the oldest university in California, and has been located in Stockton since 1923. As a result of the 2008 financial crisis, Stockton was the second largest city in the United States to file for bankruptcy protection. Stockton successfully exited bankruptcy in February 2015.
Stockton is situated amidst the farmland of California's San Joaquin Valley, a subregion of the Central Valley. In and around Stockton are thousands of miles of waterways, which make up the California Delta.
Enroll in the Right Nursing Degree near Stockton CA
Picking the right nursing college is arguably the most important first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many factors that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare 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 final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Stockton CA.
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