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Nursing School Degree Programs Antioch California

How to Select an Accredited RN Degree Program near Antioch CA

Antioch CA RN with Doctor and PatientSelecting the best nursing program near Antioch CA may feel like a complex project, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are several crucial additional aspects to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are available as well as what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Antioch CA RN taking vital signs of patient

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Antioch CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex 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 deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees

Antioch California Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a nurse. And in order 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 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Antioch California area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by California community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 usually a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has earned 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. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the California board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Schools

Antioch CA woman attending nursing school onlineEnrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for some Antioch CA students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an integral component of a Antioch CA medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, the most meaningful are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly choose the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This human side of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related elements, is appealing to many who elect to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses provide direct patient care, others choose to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

what to ask Antioch CA nursing degree collegesNow that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Antioch CA or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.

  • 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 ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes 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. Many 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 an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to find out 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Antioch CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Antioch CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Best Antioch CA Nursing Program

Antioch CA nurse holding newbornDeciding on the ideal nursing college is perhaps the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are various variables that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick 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 Antioch CA.