How to Select the Right Nursing Degree Program near Aliso Viejo CA
Locating the best nursing program near Aliso Viejo CA may seem like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are many essential additional aspects to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are available as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Aliso Viejo CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing 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 responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Aliso Viejo California area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 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 use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for some Aliso Viejo CA students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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. And so if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Why Choose Nursing as a Career?Nurses are an important component of a Aliso Viejo CA medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, the most meaningful are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly choose the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the health profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who elect to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a variety of work environments, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While many nurses provide primary patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Aliso Viejo CA or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in California for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Aliso Viejo 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 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Aliso Viejo CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Aliso Viejo CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Aliso Viejo CA Nursing School
Picking the ideal nursing college is probably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are various variables that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Aliso Viejo CA.