How to Select the Right RN College near Antelope CA
Searching for the right nursing program near Antelope CA may seem like a complicated project, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively 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 house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many key additional considerations to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are available along with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Antelope CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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 basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options offered to become a nurse. And 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 two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Antelope California area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by California community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 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 may wish to advance 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 commonly a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus 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. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific 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 answer to finding the time to attend college for some Antelope CA students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Antelope CA or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in California for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain 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 delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each 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 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 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 Antelope CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Antelope CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Antelope CA Nursing Program
Picking the ideal nursing degree program is probably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are various variables that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is important that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Antelope CA.