How to Select an LPN School in Costa Mesa California
Now that you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it’s important that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program in Costa Mesa CA that will furnish the necessary instruction. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, apart from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their responsibilities do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the next segment. When starting their search for schools, many prospective nursing students begin with the ones that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least expensive. Even though price and location are important points to consider, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other variables, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important as well. There are additional questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LVN or LPN training program that we will address later in this article. But first, let’s look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Responsibilities
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have a number of tasks that they accomplish in the Costa Mesa CA medical facilities where they work. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including California. While they may be accountable for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can encounter patients in need of medical attention is their domain. Each state not only regulates their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can’t perform. So depending on the state, their everyday job functions might include:
- Taking vital signs
- Providing medicines
- Starting IV drips
- Observing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Assisting doctors or RNs with procedures
In addition to their job duties being mandated by each state, the Costa Mesa CA health care facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are generally two scholastic credentials offered in California that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Costa Mesa CA, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degrees
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 continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Costa Mesa CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want to progress 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 receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Costa Mesa CA area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 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 need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of training required and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for California to make certain that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Many Costa Mesa CA area schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many 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 commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school relative to Costa Mesa CA and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before 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 as well as the Costa Mesa CA school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited California schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for nurses, both LPNs and RNs, are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Costa Mesa CA school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, contact the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Costa Mesa 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 LPN schools 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts in the Costa Mesa CA area to assist students attain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs in California require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships in the Costa Mesa CA area.
Choose the Right LPN Course Costa Mesa 92626
Deciding on the right Licensed Practical Nurse degree program is perhaps the most important phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this content, it is essential that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN in Costa Mesa CA.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the private reasons you may have for becoming a nurse, but additionally what attributes and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready a number of ideas about how you want to answer them. Because there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and anecdotes that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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