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Nursing School Degree Programs Antelope California

How to Choose an Accredited RN College near Antelope CA

Antelope CA Nurse with Doctor and PatientSelecting the best nursing college near Antelope CA may feel like a formidable project, especially if you don't know what to search 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 to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are various crucial additional aspects to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are available together with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Antelope CA RN taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Antelope CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees

Antelope California Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option offered to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Antelope California area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two 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 utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire 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 generally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After 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. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the California board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Programs

Antelope CA woman attending nursing classes onlineEnrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend college for many Antelope CA students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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. And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Antelope CA or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in California for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as 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 important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Antelope 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 schools 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Antelope CA medical 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. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Antelope CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best Antelope CA RN School

Antelope California nurse holding medical chartEnrolling in the right nursing degree program is potentially the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are numerous aspects that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community.  By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Antelope CA.