How to Pick a Nursing College near Oakdale California
Locating the right nursing college near Oakdale CA may feel like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive college or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are several key additional things to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Oakdale CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced 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 administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Oakdale CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides 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, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to contact the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two scholastic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest period of time, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it should be California approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees 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 need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Oakdale CA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also 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 certain that the training is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Oakdale CA or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 organization. In addition to helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Oakdale CA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet 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 contact some Oakdale 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 programs 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 displeased 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 favorable reputation within the Oakdale CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Oakdale CA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for some Oakdale CA students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of 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 pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Oakdale CA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Oakdale 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.
The city was founded in 1871 when the Stockton and Visalia Railroad met the Copperopolis Railroad. The site of Taylor's Ferry Crossing is located in Oakdale, a crossing of the Stanislaus River on the 19th century Stockton - Los Angeles Road.
Oakdale California was used as a film location for the United Artists motion picture Bound For Glory (1976) starring David Carradine. There is a scene where hoboes were herded off on a westbound train by railroad cops. Oakdale doubled as a dusty 'Texas' town using railroad scenes for the film.
The city is located on the Stanislaus River in the east-central portion of the San Joaquin Valley, adjacent to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. California State Routes 108 and 120 (Tioga Pass Road) intersect in the city.
Pick the Right Nursing Degree near Oakdale CA
Selecting the right registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most critical first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of aspects that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed in this content, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Oakdale CA.
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