How to Find the Right RN Degree Program near Anaheim CA
Finding the best nursing program near Anaheim CA may seem like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional considerations to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are available as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Anaheim CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options 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 obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Anaheim California area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by California community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 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 wish to progress 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 commonly a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for many Anaheim CA students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Anaheim CA or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 organization. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in California for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary 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. Certain 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 attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Anaheim 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 looking at 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 displeased 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 favorable reputation within the Anaheim CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Anaheim CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Anaheim CA Nursing School
Enrolling in the right nursing school is potentially the most important first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are various aspects that you must think about when deciding on a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Anaheim CA.