Programs to Become an RN in California
The California Board of Nursing (CBON) regulates the field of nursing. The board sets nursing policies to ensure patients and their families of the best possible medical care and regulates licensing and license renewal. Nurses in California are in demand as healthcare options expand and the population experiences greater longevity. Nursing employment will continue grow by 23% through the year 2020 and the greatest demand will be in outpatient care facilities, home health care and physician’s offices.
To become a registered nurse (RN) in California requires the completion of an approved nursing program and a passing grade on the National Council for Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Nursing candidates must earn at least an Associate’s Degree to qualify for the NCLEX-RN. The nursing program must include class work and clinical training. Healthcare professionals recommend nursing students complete at least a Bachelor’s degree, unless the plan is to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN), which takes about 8 to 12 months of schooling to complete, and work as an LPN while completing the work to complete studies for a Bachelors degree. A Bachelor’s degree also translates to greater responsibility, professional advancement and specialization opportunities.
Once the educational component is completed, graduates have to pass the NCLEX-RN program to become licensed. Applicants are required to submit an exam application, including a fingerprint card and criminal background check information, to the CBON and register with Pearson VUE, the exam administrator. Once the CBON approves the application, the applicant is issued an authorization to test (ATT). Once the ATT has been issued the graduate can schedule the exam with Pearson VUE. Graduates may also apply for a temporary RN license allowing the graduate to work as an RN while negotiating the exam process. The temporary license is valid for 60 days or until the exam is passed. If the applicant does not pass or take the exam in the allotted time frame, the temporary license will automatically expire.
The average RN salary in California is $71,000 and the average starting salary for an entry level RN is $48,000. The high end of the RN salary scale is about $130,000. RN’s in a supervisory position such as Director of Nursing (DON) and unit managers will hit close to the high mark, as well as nurses with an extraordinary number of years experience. The actual salary for RNs will depend on geographic location, level of responsibility, area of expertise and longevity.
The duties and responsibilities of RNs are varied depending on the type of facility and where employed. The typical RN duties include dispensing medication according to plan and gauging and tracking reaction and effectiveness, dressing wounds and changing dressings, assessing a patient’s condition and establishing a care plan, performing diagnostic tests, performing emergency procedures, addressing patients concerns, educating patients and families about the patient’s condition and preparing patients for discharge to home or other healthcare facilities.
RNs will find employment in hospitals and nursing homes, assisted care centers, occupational health facilities, clinics, doctor’s offices, correctional facilities, schools and visiting nurse and hospice organizations.
RN Training Schools in California
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