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Nursing School Degree Programs Antelope California

How to Enroll In the Right RN Course near Antelope CA

Antelope CA RN with Physician and PatientSearching for the right nursing program near Antelope CA may feel like a complex project, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of key additional considerations to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Antelope CA RN taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including Antelope CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level 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 routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees

Antelope California 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 continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions 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 two year program made available by California community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 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 may want 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 normally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate 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) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Degrees

Antelope CA woman attending RN college onlineEnrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend school for many Antelope CA students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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. Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an integral part of a Antelope CA medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, among the most notable are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly go into the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the health profession, rather than the research or analytical related aspects, is appealing to many who elect to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work environments, including nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specialties, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses provide primary patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

questions to ask Antelope CA nursing training collegesNow that you have chosen which nursing program 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 choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. 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 pick measures up 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. Besides helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many 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 enrolled in 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 online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, check 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 opinions are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs you are considering 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Antelope CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Antelope CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Best Antelope CA RN School

Antelope CA pediatric nurse holding babyDeciding on the right nursing program is probably the most important first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you should think about when choosing a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care 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 final 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.