How to Select an Accredited RN School near Antioch CA
Searching for the best nursing school near Antioch CA may feel like a complex endeavor, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are several key additional aspects to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are offered together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Antioch CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to 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
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping 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 often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
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 obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Antioch California area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by California community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally 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 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 commonly a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to check with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend school for some Antioch CA students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Antioch CA or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, 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 choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- 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 confirm that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in California for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to 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 essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, contact the California school licensing authority to check out 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 judgments 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important 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 help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Antioch CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Antioch CA Nursing School
Enrolling in the ideal nursing degree program is probably the most critical step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of variables that you must think about when picking a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Antioch CA.