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Nursing School Degree Programs Aliso Viejo California

How to Select the Best Nursing Course near Aliso Viejo CA

Aliso Viejo CA Registered Nurse with Physician and PatientFinding 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, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly program or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various crucial additional things to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Aliso Viejo CA RN taking blood pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Aliso Viejo CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Aliso Viejo California RN assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations 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 usually a 2 year program offered by California community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire 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 usually a 2 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 received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Degrees

Aliso Viejo CA student attending RN school onlineAttending nursing colleges online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend school for some Aliso Viejo CA students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily 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. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an important component of a Aliso Viejo CA medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to a number of opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, among the most meaningful are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently go into the profession out of a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the healthcare profession, rather than the analytical or research related aspects, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work environments, including nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses deliver primary patient care, others elect to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Programs

what to ask Aliso Viejo CA nursing degree schoolsNow that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Aliso Viejo CA or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify 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 requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to find out 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 schools you are looking at 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 favorable reputation within the Aliso Viejo CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Aliso Viejo CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Right Aliso Viejo CA Nursing Program

Aliso Viejo CA RN holding newbornEnrolling in the ideal nursing school is arguably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of variables that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this post, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community.  By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Aliso Viejo CA.