How to Find the Right Nursing College near Apple Valley CA
Choosing the best nursing school near Apple Valley CA may seem like a challenging project, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional things to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Apple Valley CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the responsibilities 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
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options offered 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 just 2 years, or continue on to obtain 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 2 year program made available by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four 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 may 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 commonly a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides 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, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some Apple Valley CA students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Apple Valley CA or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered 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 essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the California school licensing authority to find 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 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Apple Valley CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Apple Valley CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Apple Valley CA RN Program
Picking the right nursing program is arguably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are various factors that you must consider when choosing a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is essential that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final 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.