How to Choose a Nursing School near Arcata California
Searching for the best nursing program near Arcata CA may feel like a difficult project, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various crucial additional considerations to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Arcata CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically 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 available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Arcata CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 normally a 2 year program after acquiring 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) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are essentially two academic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to 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 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 attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at Arcata CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three 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 instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets 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 certain that the education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Arcata CA or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other programs.
- 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Arcata CA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some 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 exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Arcata 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 schools 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Arcata CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Arcata CA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend classes for some Arcata CA students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Arcata CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Arcata 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.
Arcata, originally Union Town or Union, is a city adjacent to the Arcata Bay (northern) portion of Humboldt Bay in Humboldt County, California, United States. At the 2010 census, Arcata's population was 17,231. Arcata, located 280 miles (450 km) north of San Francisco (via Highway 101), is home to Humboldt State University. Arcata is also the location of the Arcata Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Land Management, which is responsible for the administration of natural resources, lands and mineral programs, including the Headwaters Forest, on approximately 200,000 acres of public land in Northwestern California.
Arcata has been notably progressive in its political makeup, and was the first city in the United States to elect a majority of its city council members from the Green Party. As a result of the progressive majority, Arcata capped the number of chain restaurants allowed in the city. Arcata was also the first municipality to ban the growth of any type of Genetically Modified Organism within city limits, with exceptions for research and educational purposes.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.0 square miles (28.5 km2), of which 9.1 square miles (23.6 km2) is land and 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2) (17.25%) is water.
Select the Right Nursing School near Arcata CA
Deciding on the right registered nursing school is perhaps the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are many variables that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Arcata CA.
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