How to Enroll In an Accredited RN School near Antioch CA
Finding the best nursing college near Antioch CA may seem like a challenging undertaking, 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 need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are various crucial additional aspects to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Antioch CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally 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 Degree Options
There are multiple degrees 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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Antioch California area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally 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 employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 normally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more popular way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for many Antioch CA students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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 obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Why Enter the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an essential component of a Antioch 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, the most significant are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often choose the profession due to a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related facets, is attractive to many who decide to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work settings, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses provide direct patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Antioch CA or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in California for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some 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 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 practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Antioch 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 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 displeased 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 Antioch CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain 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 requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Antioch CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Antioch CA Nursing School
Picking the right nursing college is perhaps the most important first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous aspects that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed within this content, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Antioch CA.