How to Find the Right Nursing School near Los Gatos California
Finding the right nursing college near Los Gatos CA may feel like a complex undertaking, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training 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. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your home is probably not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are various essential additional aspects to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Los Gatos CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees available 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 receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Los Gatos CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 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.
After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to contact the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest period of time, typically about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide 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 warrants that the course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at Los Gatos CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program 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 mandated to obtain 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 period of instruction directed and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for California or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure 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 additional prerequisites as well.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Los Gatos CA or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Los Gatos 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) as well as 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 important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
- 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 too. Also, check with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Los Gatos CA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Los Gatos CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Los Gatos CA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost 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 method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many Los Gatos CA students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental 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 such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Los Gatos CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Los Gatos 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.
Los Gatos, California
Los Gatos (US: /loʊs ˈɡɑːtoʊs, lɔːs-/; Spanish for "The Cats") is an incorporated town in Santa Clara County, California, United States. The population is 30,391 according to the 2013 United States Census Bureau. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Los Gatos is ranked the 33rd wealthiest city in the United States. It is located in the San Francisco Bay Area at the southwest corner of San Jose in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Los Gatos is part of Silicon Valley, with several high technology companies maintaining a presence there. Most notably, streaming and content creator, Netflix is headquartered in Los Gatos and has developed a large presence in the area.
Los Gatos is Spanish for "the cats." The name derives from the 1839 Alta California land-grant that encompassed the area, which was called La Rinconada de Los Gatos, ("Cat's Corner"), where "the cats" refers to the cougars and bobcats that are indigenous to the foothills in which the town is located. The name has been anglicized to /lɔːs ˈɡætəs/ lawss-GAT-əs, although one also hears pronunciations truer to the original Spanish, /loʊsˈɡɑːtoʊs/ lohss-GAH-tohss.
The town's founding dates to the mid-1850s with the building of a flour operation, Forbes Mill, by James Alexander Forbes along Los Gatos Creek. The mill's two-story stone storage annex has been preserved as a museum just off of Main Street.
Enroll in the Right Nursing College near Los Gatos CA
Selecting the ideal registered nursing program is perhaps the most crucial step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of aspects that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this content, it is essential that you select an RN college 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 produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Los Gatos CA.
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