How to Choose the Best RN Program near Antelope CA
Searching for the best nursing program near Antelope CA may seem like a complicated project, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are various important additional considerations to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are available together with what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Antelope CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to help doctors in the treatment 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 portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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 Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees 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 just 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Antelope California area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 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 earned 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 can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend school for many Antelope CA students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Antelope CA or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, 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 manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in California for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy 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 looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, 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 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 colleges 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 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Antelope CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Antelope CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Antelope CA Nursing School
Selecting the ideal nursing degree program is perhaps the most crucial step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of variables that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Antelope CA.