How to Choose the Best Nursing Program near Antioch CA
Selecting the right nursing college near Antioch CA may feel like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are several crucial additional aspects to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Antioch CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to assist 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 along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
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 earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 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 commonly a 2 year program made available by California community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 commonly a 2 year program after receiving 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 earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to check with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend school for some Antioch CA students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as 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, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Antioch CA or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in California for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
- 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 as well. In addition, contact the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Antioch 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 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 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 favorable reputation within the Antioch CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually 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 associations with Antioch CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Antioch CA Nursing School
Choosing the right nursing degree program is probably the most important step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous aspects that you should consider when choosing a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Antioch CA.