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Nursing School Degree Programs Antelope California

How to Select an Accredited Nursing Training Program near Antelope CA

Antelope CA Nurse with Doctor and PatientSearching for the right nursing program near Antelope CA may feel like a complicated project, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are several key additional aspects to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree options that are available along with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Antelope CA RN taking vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as Antelope CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to aid 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. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

Antelope California Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option available 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance 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 normally a 2 year program offered by California community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ 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 expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a four 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 might desire to progress 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 usually a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate 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) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Degrees

Antelope CA student attending nursing classes onlineEnrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for some Antelope CA students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, 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 family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges

Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Antelope CA or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive 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 prerequisites 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. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, 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 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 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 good reputation within the Antelope CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Antelope CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Right Antelope CA RN School

Antelope California RN holding medical chartDeciding on the ideal nursing degree program is probably the most critical step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are various factors that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is important that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community.  By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Antelope CA.