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Nursing School Degree Programs Brentwood California

How to Enroll In the Right RN Course near Brentwood CA

Brentwood CA Nurse with Physician and PatientLocating the best nursing program near Brentwood CA may feel like a difficult endeavor, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of important additional things to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Brentwood CA Nurse taking blood pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Brentwood CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role 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. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:

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

Nursing Degree Options

Brentwood California Nurse assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a nurse. And 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 advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Brentwood California area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to progress 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 generally a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance 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) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Classes

Brentwood California woman attending nursing school onlineAttending nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend school for some Brentwood CA students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Schools

Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Brentwood CA or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.

  • 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. In addition to helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available 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) 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 essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, contact 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Brentwood CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Brentwood CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Right Brentwood CA RN School

Deciding on the right nursing degree program is arguably the most critical step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are many variables that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is critical that you choose a nursing school 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 produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Brentwood CA.