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Nursing School Degree Programs Alhambra California

How to Find an Accredited RN Training Program near Alhambra CA

Alhambra CA Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientLocating the right nursing college near Alhambra CA may seem like a complex undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your house is probably 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 attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are available together with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Alhambra CA RN taking blood pressure of patient

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including Alhambra CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically 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 Available

Alhambra California RN assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees offered 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 obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Alhambra California area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four 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 might want 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 normally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus 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) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Schools

Alhambra California student attending nursing college onlineEnrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more in demand way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend college for many Alhambra CA students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary 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 limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Schools

Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Alhambra CA or on the web, you can utilize 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 important to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first 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 ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other programs.

  • 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in California for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to 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 imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Alhambra 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 schools 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Alhambra CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Alhambra CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Right Alhambra CA RN School

Enrolling in the right nursing program is potentially the most important step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you must think about when selecting a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is important that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community.  By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose 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 Alhambra CA.