How to Choose the Best RN College near Antioch CA
Locating the best nursing program near Antioch CA may feel like a complicated project, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to select a nursing program. There are various important additional considerations to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Antioch CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally 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 are multiple degrees available 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 just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Antioch California area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by California community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 generally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Antioch CA students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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 family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Why Nursing?Nurses are an important part of a Antioch CA medical team, and for many 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 several reasons, among the most significant are its practical and personal rewards. 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 often choose the profession due to a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This human aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is attractive to many who elect to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, including home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses provide direct patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, and 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 a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided 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. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. 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 assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential 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 best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Antioch CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Antioch CA RN Program
Enrolling in the right nursing college is perhaps the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are numerous aspects that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist 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 right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Antioch CA.