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Nursing School Degree Programs Atascadero California

How to Pick an Accredited Nursing Training Program near Atascadero CA

Atascadero CA Nurse with Doctor and PatientLocating the right nursing program near Atascadero CA may seem like a complicated project, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is probably not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many key additional factors to check out before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are available as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Atascadero CA RN taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as Atascadero CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees

Atascadero California Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option 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 receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six 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 generally a 2 year program offered by California community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 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 want 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 two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus 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) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Degrees

Atascadero California woman attending nursing classes onlineEnrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Atascadero CA students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of 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 training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Atascadero CA or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in California for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific 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 provides a top-notch education, but also preps 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 assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Atascadero 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 colleges you are considering 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 Atascadero CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
  • 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Atascadero CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Atascadero CA RN School

Picking the ideal nursing college is potentially the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are various factors that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed within this post, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community.  By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Atascadero CA.