Home >> California >> Brentwood >> Nursing Training


Nursing School Degree Programs Brentwood California

How to Choose the Right Nursing Course near Brentwood CA

Brentwood CA Registered Nurse with Physician and PatientSelecting the best nursing college near Brentwood CA may feel like a complex project, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is closest to your house is probably not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are many key additional things to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree options that are offered along with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Brentwood CA Nurse taking blood pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Brentwood CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing 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 high level 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 routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees

Brentwood California RN assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Brentwood California area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 generally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

Once 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) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Degrees

Brentwood CA student attending RN college onlineEnrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many Brentwood CA students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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 work and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Brentwood CA or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain an excellent 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 are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific 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 delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Brentwood CA healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important 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 relationships to help students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Brentwood CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best Brentwood CA RN Program

Brentwood California RN holding medical chartPicking the right nursing school is probably the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are many variables that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community.  By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Brentwood CA.