How to Find the Right Nursing Program near Westlake Village California
Locating the right nursing college near Westlake Village CA may seem like a complicated endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is local to your house is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are several essential additional aspects to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different Westlake Village CA medical environments, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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 common illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Westlake Village CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by California community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as 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 comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 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 offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received 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 fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for many Westlake Village CA students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of 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 obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges in the Westlake Village CA area and throughout California and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans in Westlake Village CA, which are frequently not offered 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Westlake Village 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 schools 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Westlake Village CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific 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 Westlake Village CA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near Westlake Village CA?
Westlake Village, California
Westlake Village is a city in Los Angeles County on its western border with Ventura County. The population was estimated to be at 8,473 in 2014, up from 8,368 at the 2000 census. The headquarters of the Dole Food Company is also located in Westlake Village.
The original community was known simply as "Westlake". Roughly two-thirds of it was annexed by the city of Thousand Oaks in two portions, in 1968 and 1972. In 1981, the remaining third eventually incorporated as the City of Westlake Village.
Chumash Indians were the first to settle in what is now Westlake Village. It was home to a Chumash settlement known as Hipuk. About 3,000 years ago, Chumash Indians moved into the region and lived by hunting rabbits and other game, and gathering grains and acorns. On-going excavations, archaeological sites, and polychrome rock paintings in the area provide a glimpse into the social and economic complexity of the ancient Chumash world.
Choose the Right RN Degree near Westlake Village CA
Picking the ideal registered nursing program is perhaps the most important phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this article, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Westlake Village CA.
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