How to Find the Best RN Training Program near Atascadero CA
Locating the best nursing school near Atascadero CA may feel like a complex project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are several essential additional things to explore before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are available together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Atascadero CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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.
There are several degree options to choose from to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Atascadero California area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by California community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 job market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed 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 classes for many Atascadero CA students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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. Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Atascadero CA or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at 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 judgments 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 important 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 obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Atascadero CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Atascadero CA Nursing School
Enrolling in the right nursing college is perhaps the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of variables that you need to consider when picking a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist 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 Atascadero CA.