How to Enroll In a Nursing College near Concord California
Finding the best nursing school near Concord CA may feel like a complex project, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are many crucial additional factors to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Concord CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular 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
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often 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 Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Concord 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 position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive 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 advance 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 two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are essentially two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time frame, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically 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. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, 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.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Concord CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training required and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important 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 contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Concord CA or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within 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 manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Concord CA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Concord 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 schools 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Concord CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Concord CA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend college for many Concord CA students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more 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, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Concord CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Concord 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.
Concord (/ˈkɒŋkərd/ KON-kord) is the largest city in Contra Costa County, California. At the 2010 census, the city had a population of 122,067 making it the 8th largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded in 1869 as the community of Todos Santos by Salvio Pacheco, the name was changed to Concord within months. The city is a major regional suburban East Bay center within the San Francisco Bay Area, and is 29 miles (47 kilometres) east of San Francisco.
Concord is located at 37°58′41″N 122°01′52″W / 37.97806°N 122.03111°W / 37.97806; -122.03111. It is 29 miles (47 kilometres) northeast of San Francisco, 22 miles (35 km) northeast from Oakland, 65 miles (105 km) southwest of Sacramento, and 51 miles (82 km) north of San Jose.
The focal point of downtown Concord is Todo Santos Plaza, which encompasses an entire city block and is known for its farmers market, free summer concerts, and large number of surrounding restaurants. Much of the area immediately around downtown has recently been redeveloped, with new high-density apartment and condominium projects to take advantage of the proximity to public transportation and to the area surrounding the park. Despite this, some crime and homelessness remain issues in the downtown area.
Select the Right Nursing School near Concord CA
Choosing the right registered nursing school is probably the most critical step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are various aspects that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this content, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Concord CA.
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