How to Pick the Right Nursing Degree Program near Aliso Viejo CA
Finding the best nursing program near Aliso Viejo CA may seem like a challenging undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are several crucial additional aspects to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree options that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Aliso Viejo CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting 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 advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option offered 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 receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six 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 offered by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend college for some Aliso Viejo CA students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and 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 realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in California for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many 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 meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Aliso Viejo CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Aliso Viejo CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Aliso Viejo CA RN Program
Choosing the ideal nursing school is perhaps the most important first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are various variables that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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.