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Nursing School Degree Programs Atascadero California

How to Enroll In an Accredited RN Course near Atascadero CA

Atascadero CA Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientSelecting the best nursing college near Atascadero CA may seem like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you have no idea 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 obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are several important additional things to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Atascadero CA RN taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Atascadero CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing 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 high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Atascadero California RN assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees offered to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Atascadero 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 position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish to advance 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 normally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he 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 don't forget to contact the California board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Degrees

Atascadero CA student attending nursing classes onlineEnrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for many Atascadero CA students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like 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 work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an essential component of a Atascadero CA medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, the most meaningful are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a hospital or home care setting have more contact 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 extended care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the health profession, rather than the analytical or research related elements, is attractive to many who decide to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work settings, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While many nurses deliver personal patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Schools

questions to ask Atascadero CA nursing degree collegesNow that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Atascadero CA or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within 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 site of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary 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 selection measures up to the other schools.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in California for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific 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 provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards 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 considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 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 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Atascadero CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get 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 requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Atascadero CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best Atascadero CA Nursing Program

Atascadero CA nurse holding babyDeciding on the right nursing degree program is probably the most critical step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various factors that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care 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 ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Atascadero CA.