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What to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Atascadero CA or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in California for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online 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. Also, contact the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Atascadero 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 RN programs 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Atascadero CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Atascadero CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.