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Nursing School Degree Programs Aliso Viejo California

How to Choose the Best RN Course near Aliso Viejo CA

Aliso Viejo CA Registered Nurse with Physician and PatientLocating the best nursing college near Aliso Viejo CA may seem like a complex undertaking, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is local to your residence is probably not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are many essential additional considerations to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are offered along with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Aliso Viejo CA Nurse taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Aliso Viejo CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically 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.

Nursing Degrees Available

Aliso Viejo California RN assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to earn 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 generally a two year program made available by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 normally a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don't forget to check with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Programs

Aliso Viejo California student attending nursing classes onlineEnrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more in demand way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many Aliso Viejo CA students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

What to Ask Nursing Schools

Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Aliso Viejo CA or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 agency. Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the 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. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Aliso Viejo CA healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges you are considering 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 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Aliso Viejo CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Aliso Viejo CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Right Aliso Viejo CA RN School

Deciding on the right nursing school is probably the most critical phase to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are many variables that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community.  By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Aliso Viejo CA.