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Nursing School Degree Programs Atascadero California

How to Select the Best Nursing School near Atascadero CA

Atascadero CA Registered Nurse with Physician and PatientSearching for the best nursing college near Atascadero CA may feel like a complex project, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is local to your residence is no doubt not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are many crucial additional factors to explore before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are available together with what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Atascadero CA RN taking vital signs of patient

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Atascadero CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Keeping health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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.

Nursing Degrees Available

Atascadero California RN assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option available 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 as little as two years, or advance to obtain 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 normally a two year program offered by California community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly 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 might wish to progress 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 typically a two year program after receiving 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 attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Classes

Atascadero CA woman attending RN school onlineEnrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some Atascadero CA students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an important part of a Atascadero CA medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, the most significant are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a medical facility or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly go into the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, rather than the analytical or research related facets, is attractive to many who choose to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses provide primary patient care, others opt to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

questions to ask Atascadero CA nursing training programsOnce you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Atascadero CA or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.

  • 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 organization. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional 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 all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to find out 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 judgments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs you are looking at 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Atascadero CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Atascadero CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Atascadero CA RN School

Atascadero CA RN holding newbornDeciding on the right nursing degree program is potentially the most crucial step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous aspects that you must take into account when picking a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care 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 ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Atascadero CA.