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Nursing School Degree Programs Antelope California

How to Select an Accredited Nursing Program near Antelope CA

Antelope CA RN with Doctor and PatientSearching for the right nursing school near Antelope CA may feel like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are various key additional things to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are available as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Antelope CA Nurse taking vital signs of patient

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Antelope CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Keeping health records and charts

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

Nursing Degree Options

Antelope California Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There are several degree options to choose from to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief 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 made available by California community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 usually a 2 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.

When a graduating student has obtained 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. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Programs

Antelope CA student attending RN college onlineEnrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend school for some Antelope CA students. Pertaining to 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 affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Things to Ask Nursing Colleges

Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Antelope CA or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin 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 lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes 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 required 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 essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to check 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 assessments 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 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 superb reputation within the Antelope CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Antelope CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best Antelope CA RN School

Antelope California RN holding medical chartChoosing the right nursing college is potentially the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you must think about when picking a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is essential that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community.  By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select 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.