How to Choose a Nursing Program near El Dorado Hills California
Locating the right nursing school near El Dorado Hills CA may seem like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are several crucial additional aspects to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as El Dorado Hills CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. 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 basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
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 enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the El Dorado Hills CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 typically a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Additional 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 principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest amount of time, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish 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 another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum 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 need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at El Dorado Hills CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain 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 period of training mandated and every state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also 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 training course is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near El Dorado Hills CA or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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. Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in El Dorado Hills CA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some El Dorado Hills 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 colleges 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 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 superb reputation within the El Dorado Hills CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with El Dorado Hills CA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend college for many El Dorado Hills CA students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near El Dorado Hills CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater El Dorado Hills 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.
El Dorado Hills, California
El Dorado Hills (EDH) is an unincorporated census-designated place (CDP) in El Dorado County, California, 22 miles (35 km) east of the state capital of Sacramento. The population was 42,108 at the 2010 census, up from 18,016 at the 2000 census. This growth is a combination of population increase within the 2000 CDP boundaries and expansion of the boundaries. The area of EDH was expanded from 17.9 square miles (46 km2) in 2000 to 48.606 square miles (125.89 km2) in 2010.
El Dorado Hills residents and businesses are most closely affiliated with El Dorado County, a generally rural area. El Dorado County is part of the Sacramento Metropolitan Area because it is socially and economically integrated with the much larger Sacramento County and especially the city of Folsom. El Dorado Hills is recognized nationally for its high median household income, ranking 77th in CNN Money Magazine's best places to live in 2007, with the median household income for 2007 over $115,000.
El Dorado Hills lies about 18.6 miles from the 1848 gold find site in Coloma, the impetus for the California Gold Rush. Gold was washed down the South Fork of the American River, into areas now in El Dorado Hills and Folsom, but farming and ranching supplanted the Gold Rush. Portions of two Pony Express routes in this area from 1860-1861 remain as modern El Dorado Hills roads. El Dorado Hills includes the longest surviving section of the Lincoln Highway, the first U.S. transcontinental highway. This section, part of the Pioneer Branch, passes through historic Clarksville and is the predecessor of the modern US 50 route.
Choose the Right Nursing College near El Dorado Hills CA
Selecting the ideal registered nursing program is potentially the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various factors that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care 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 hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in El Dorado Hills CA.
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