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Nursing School Degree Programs Apple Valley California

How to Select the Right Nursing Training Program near Apple Valley CA

Apple Valley CA Nurse with Doctor and PatientChoosing the best nursing program near Apple Valley CA may feel like a complicated endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various crucial additional factors to investigate before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree options that are available together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Apple Valley CA RN taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Apple Valley CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise 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
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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 Degrees

Apple Valley California Nurse assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a nurse. And 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 continue on 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 Apple Valley California area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by California community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 usually a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers 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) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Classes

Apple Valley CA woman attending nursing classes onlineAttending nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend classes for many Apple Valley CA students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can 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. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an integral part of a Apple Valley CA medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to a number of opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, the most significant are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently choose the profession due to a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related facets, is appealing to many who decide to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work environments, such as home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While most nurses deliver personal patient care, others choose to be educators, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges

questions to ask Apple Valley CA nursing training collegesNow that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Apple Valley CA or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier 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 consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in 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 working.
  • Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, check with the California school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Apple Valley 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 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Apple Valley CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Apple Valley CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Best Apple Valley CA Nursing Program

Apple Valley CA nurse holding newbornSelecting the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most important first step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are many variables that you must think about when deciding on a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community.  By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Apple Valley CA.