How to Enroll In a Nursing School near Fairfield California
Selecting the right nursing program near Fairfield CA may feel like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is local to your residence is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are many important additional things to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Fairfield CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing 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 responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options offered 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 just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Fairfield CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 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 progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a two year program after receiving 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, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are essentially two academic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it should be California approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study 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 some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at Fairfield CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise 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 may be additional prerequisites as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Fairfield CA or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
- 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 receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Fairfield CA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Fairfield 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Fairfield CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Fairfield CA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many Fairfield CA students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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 household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Fairfield CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Fairfield 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.
Fairfield is a city in, and the county seat of, Solano County, California, in the North Bay sub-region of the San Francisco Bay Area. It is generally considered the midpoint between the cities of San Francisco and Sacramento, approximately 40 miles (64 km) from the city center of both cities, approximately 40 miles (64 km) from the city center of Oakland, less than 19 miles (31 km) from Napa Valley, 16 miles (26 km) from the Carquinez Bridge, and 14 miles (23 km) from the Benicia Bridge. Fairfield was founded in 1856 by clippership captain Robert H. Waterman, and named after his former hometown of Fairfield, Connecticut.
It is the home of Travis Air Force Base and the headquarters of Jelly Belly. With a population of 108,321 at the 2010 census, it is slightly smaller in population than Vallejo. Other nearby cities include Suisun City, Vacaville, Rio Vista, Benicia, and Napa.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 37.6 square miles (97 km2), of which, 34.4 square miles (89 km2) of it is land and 3.2 square miles (8.3 km2) of it is water. The total area is 5.65% water.
Enroll in the Right Nursing Degree near Fairfield CA
Picking the right registered nursing school is probably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of factors that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Fairfield CA.
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