How to Enroll In the Best Nursing Degree Program near Apple Valley CA
Searching for the right nursing college near Apple Valley CA may seem like a difficult endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are many important additional aspects to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are offered together with what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Apple Valley CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees available to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions 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 generally a two year program made available by California community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 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 instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained 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. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to contact the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for some Apple Valley CA students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Apple Valley CA or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares 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. Aside from helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in California for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as 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 important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the California school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied 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 superb reputation within the Apple Valley CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Apple Valley CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Apple Valley CA Nursing School
Selecting the right nursing college is arguably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various aspects that you should take into account when selecting a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Apple Valley CA.