How to Choose a Nursing Program near Arroyo Grande California
Choosing the right nursing school near Arroyo Grande CA may feel like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order 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 determine the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is local to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional aspects to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Arroyo Grande CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating 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), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options available 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 as little as 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Arroyo Grande CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 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 commonly a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After 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 can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are basically two academic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it should be California approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Arroyo Grande CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program 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 mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training directed and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for California or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Arroyo Grande CA or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Arroyo Grande CA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ 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. Some 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 excellent education, but also prepares 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 also. Also, check with the California school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Arroyo Grande 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 programs you are looking at 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Arroyo Grande CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. 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 as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Arroyo Grande CA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend college for some Arroyo Grande CA students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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 household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Arroyo Grande CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Arroyo Grande 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.
Arroyo Grande, California
The first Europeans to see this stretch of coast were the crew of Portuguese explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, working in the service of Spain. The Spanish Portolá expedition was the first European visit by land, passing through the area on September 4, 1769. When Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa was established nearby, the Portolà trail became part of the road connecting the 21 Spanish missions (today called El Camino Real). Later, agricultural activities expanded into the area. The Arroyo Grande Valley was found to have particularly fertile ground and was given the name meaning "wide riverbed" in Spanish.
Francis Ziba Branch, originally from New York, saw the area on a hunting expedition during the period when California was part of Mexico. Branch married María Manuela Carlón, and this marriage entitled Branch to file a claim for a Mexican land grant. In 1836 he, his wife, and baby son moved onto Rancho Santa Manuela. They were managing a successful cattle ranching operation when California became a U.S. territory, and then a U.S. state. But some years later they suffered financial difficulties during a drought when many cattle died. They sold off smaller parcels of land to settlers.
In 1862, the San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors established the township of Arroyo Grande. Businesses developed along a road called Branch Street to serve local agriculture. A railroad depot was built in 1882. The city of Arroyo Grande was incorporated on July 10, 1911.
Pick the Right Nursing School near Arroyo Grande CA
Selecting the ideal registered nursing degree program is potentially the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is essential that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Arroyo Grande CA.
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