How to Select a Nursing Program near Huntington Beach California
Selecting the best nursing school near Huntington Beach CA may feel like a formidable project, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional factors to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Huntington Beach CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent 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
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically 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.
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Huntington Beach CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares 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 afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained 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. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are generally two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest time frame, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be California approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other 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 have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Huntington Beach CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training directed and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally 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 training course is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Huntington Beach CA or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within 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 already discussed, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will consider. 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 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. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Huntington Beach CA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the California school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Huntington Beach 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 colleges you are looking at 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Huntington Beach CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships 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. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Huntington Beach CA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed 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 time to attend college for some Huntington Beach CA students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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. So if your work and family responsibilities 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 hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Huntington Beach CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Huntington Beach 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.
Huntington Beach, California
Huntington Beach is a seaside city in Orange County in Southern California. The city is named after American businessman Henry E. Huntington. The population was 189,992 during the 2010 census, making it the most populous beach city in Orange County and the seventh most populous city in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its estimated 2014 population was 200,809. It is bordered by Bolsa Chica Basin State Marine Conservation Area on the west, the Pacific Ocean on the southwest, by Seal Beach on the northwest, by Westminster on the north, by Fountain Valley on the northeast, by Costa Mesa on the east, and by Newport Beach on the southeast.
Huntington Beach (locally initialized "HB") is known for its long 9.5-mile (15.3 km) stretch of sandy beach, mild climate, excellent surfing, and beach culture. The ocean waves are enhanced by a natural effect caused by the edge-diffraction of open ocean swells around Santa Catalina Island. Swells generated predominantly from the North Pacific in winter and from a combination of Southern Hemisphere storms and hurricanes in the summer focus on Huntington Beach, creating consistent surf all year long, hence the nickname "Surf City".
The area was originally occupied by the Tongva people. European settlement can be traced to a Spanish soldier, Manuel Nieto, who in 1784 received a Spanish land grant of 300,000 acres (1,200 km2), Rancho Los Nietos, as a reward for his military service and to encourage settlement in Alta California. Nieto's western area was reduced in 1790 because of a dispute with the Mission San Gabriel, but he retained thousands of acres stretching from the hills north of Whittier, Fullerton and Brea, south to the Pacific Ocean, and from today's Los Angeles River on the west, to the Santa Ana River on the east.
Choose the Right Nursing College near Huntington Beach CA
Deciding on the right registered nursing college is perhaps the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of factors that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is important that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Huntington Beach CA.
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