How to Choose a Nursing College near Calabasas California
Locating the right nursing school near Calabasas CA may feel like a difficult endeavor, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are various key additional factors 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 healthcare system, along with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Calabasas CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally 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 in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Calabasas CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four 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 may desire 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 generally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are generally two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it needs to be California approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at Calabasas CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain 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 check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Calabasas CA or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, 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 in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- 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 agency. Aside from helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Calabasas 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Calabasas 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Calabasas CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- 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 specific 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 Calabasas CA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more preferred way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for some Calabasas CA students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Calabasas CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Calabasas 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.
Calabasas is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, located in the hills west of the San Fernando Valley and in the northwest Santa Monica Mountains between Woodland Hills, Agoura Hills, West Hills, Hidden Hills, and Malibu, California. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 23,058, up from 20,033 at the 2000 census. The city was formally incorporated in 1991.
It is generally accepted that the name of Calabasas is derived from the Spanish calabaza meaning "pumpkin", "squash", or "gourd" (cf. calabash). Some historians hold the theory that Calabasas is derived from the Chumash word calahoosa which is said to mean "where the wild geese fly." Owing to vast presence of wild squash plants in the area, the squash theory is more prevalent among local residents. At the top of the Calabasas grade, which is east of Las Virgenes Road on the original El Camino Real, legend has it that in 1824, a Basque rancher from Oxnard spilled a wagonload of pumpkins on the road en route to Los Angeles. The following spring, hundreds of pumpkin seeds sprouted alongside the road. The area was named Las Calabasas—the place where the pumpkins fell.
In honor of its namesake, the City of Calabasas and the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce hold an annual Pumpkin Festival in October, including carnival games, exhibits, demonstrations, and live entertainment. The festival has evolved from a small-town fair to a significant annual event. Though the current Pumpkin Festival is held at Juan Bautista de Anza Park in Calabasas, the original festival was believed to have taken place where the traveling wagon carrying pumpkins overturned and started the area's first pumpkin patch.
Pick the Right Nursing School near Calabasas CA
Deciding on the right registered nursing college is arguably the most important first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various variables that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Calabasas CA.
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