How to Select the Best Nursing Program near Brentwood CA
Choosing the right nursing school near Brentwood CA may feel like a challenging project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is local to your residence is no doubt not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many essential additional factors to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree alternatives that are available as well as what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Brentwood CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and typically 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 Degree Options
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 receive 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 descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Brentwood California area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two 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 utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four 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 wish 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 commonly 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.
When a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for some Brentwood CA students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more 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. So if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Choose the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an essential component of a Brentwood CA medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently go into the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the health profession, rather than the research or analytical related aspects, is attractive to many who elect to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work settings, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses provide primary patient care, others choose to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Brentwood CA or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the field.
- 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 agency. Besides helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in California for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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. Some 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 provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations 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 contact some Brentwood 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 programs 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Brentwood CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Brentwood CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Brentwood CA Nursing School
Choosing the right nursing degree program is probably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you must consider when choosing a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this content, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Brentwood CA.