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Nursing School Degree Programs Atascadero California

How to Enroll In the Best Nursing College near Atascadero CA

Atascadero CA RN with Doctor and PatientFinding the best nursing school near Atascadero CA may seem like a complex project, particularly if you have no idea 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 proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of key additional aspects to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Atascadero CA Nurse taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Atascadero 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 particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating 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), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees

Atascadero 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 earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Atascadero California area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use 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 comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four 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 desire to advance 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 normally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has received 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. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Schools

Atascadero California woman attending RN classes onlineAttending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for some Atascadero CA students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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 work and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Things to Ask Nursing Programs

Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Atascadero CA or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, 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 so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see 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 organization. Aside from helping verify that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Atascadero 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 colleges 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 displeased 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 Atascadero CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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 requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Atascadero CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Best Atascadero CA Nursing Program

Enrolling in the ideal nursing school is probably the most critical step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of variables that you must think about when picking a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is essential that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Atascadero CA.