How to Find the Right Nursing Program near Tracy California
Searching for the right nursing program near Tracy CA may feel like a complicated project, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper 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 final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are several crucial additional things to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Tracy CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Tracy 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 position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Programs
There 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, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next alternative is to earn 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, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive 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 another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most 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 received at Tracy CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have 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 minimal amount of instruction directed and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for California or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state certified. 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.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain 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 specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some Tracy CA students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with limited 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 Programs
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Tracy CA or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.
- 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. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Tracy CA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, contact the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Tracy 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 programs 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 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 Tracy CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Tracy CA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Tracy CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Tracy 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.
Tracy is the second most populated city in San Joaquin County, California, United States. The population was 82,922 at the 2010 census. Tracy is located inside a geographic triangle formed by Interstate 205 on the north side of the city, Interstate 5 to the east, and Interstate 580 to the southwest; this has given rise to Tracy's motto, now recorded on the city's website: "Think Inside the Triangle".
Up until the 1860s the area that is now the city of Tracy was populated by the Yokuts tribe of Native Americans. Their lives revolved around subsistence from foods provided by the local rivers and creeks. The Yokuts were displaced by Spanish and later Mexican and American immigrants and ravaged by diseases.
The origins of Tracy are related to the mid-19th century construction of Central Pacific Railroad lines running from Sacramento through Stockton and to the San Francisco Bay Area. Tracy is part of the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area, an extension of the Bay Area. A number of small communities sprang up along these lines, including the one named for railroad director Lathrop J. Tracy. Incorporated in 1911, Tracy grew rapidly and prospered as an agricultural area even when railroad operations began to decline in the 1950s. Beginning in the 1980s, Tracy experienced a growth spurt as people migrated to the city looking for affordable alternatives to Bay Area home prices, in addition to a more tranquil lifestyle. A steady period of growth ensued, as many companies found Tracy an ideal location for their distribution facilities.
Pick the Right Nursing Degree near Tracy CA
Selecting the ideal nursing school is probably the most important phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are various variables that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Tracy CA.
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