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Nursing School Degree Programs Antioch California

How to Pick the Best Nursing Training Program near Antioch CA

Antioch CA Nurse with Physician and PatientChoosing the best nursing program near Antioch CA may seem like a formidable project, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your home is probably not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are many important additional considerations to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are available along with what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Antioch CA Nurse taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Antioch CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Overseeing 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), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly 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

Antioch California Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees offered 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 2 years, or continue on to attain 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 commonly a two year program offered by California community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually 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 desire 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 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Degrees

Antioch CA student attending nursing classes onlineEnrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend college for some Antioch CA students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. 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 job and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an essential component of a Antioch CA medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, among the most notable are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the health profession, rather than the analytical or research related elements, is appealing to many who elect to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work settings, including home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While most nurses deliver personal patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

questions to ask Antioch CA nursing training programsNow that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Antioch CA or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous 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 workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, 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 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain 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 attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, contact the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 programs 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 unhappy 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 superb reputation within the Antioch CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Antioch CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Best Antioch CA Nursing Program

Antioch CA pediatric nurse holding newbornSelecting the right nursing school is perhaps the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are many variables that you should think about when selecting a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this article, it is essential that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose 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.