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Nursing School Degree Programs Apple Valley California

How to Find the Right RN Course near Apple Valley CA

Apple Valley CA Nurse with Doctor and PatientChoosing the best nursing program near Apple Valley CA may seem like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are many key additional things to explore before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are available as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Apple Valley CA Nurse taking blood pressure of woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Apple Valley CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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 basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Apple Valley California Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option 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 as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Apple Valley California area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by California community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire 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 obtaining 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 obtained 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. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to contact the California board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Classes

Apple Valley CA woman attending nursing school onlineAttending nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend school for many Apple Valley CA students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. 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. Therefore if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

What to Ask Nursing Programs

Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Apple Valley CA or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.

  • 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. In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain 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 attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to check 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 displeased 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 good reputation within the Apple Valley CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Apple Valley CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Apple Valley CA Nursing School

Apple Valley California nurse holding medical chartDeciding on the ideal nursing degree program is potentially the most critical step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of factors that you need to consider when picking a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is important that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community.  By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list 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 desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Apple Valley CA.