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Nursing School Degree Programs Alhambra California

How to Choose the Right Nursing Program near Alhambra CA

Alhambra CA Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientSelecting the right nursing program near Alhambra CA may seem like a challenging undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are various important additional things to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Alhambra CA Nurse 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 general function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing 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 advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees

Alhambra California Nurse assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six 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 normally a two year program made available by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth 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 might wish 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 attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Degrees

Alhambra California woman attending nursing school onlineAttending nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount 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 approach to finding the free time to attend school for many Alhambra CA students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Alhambra CA or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection 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. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, contact the California school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Alhambra 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 schools you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete 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 superb reputation within the Alhambra CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Alhambra CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Right Alhambra CA Nursing School

Selecting the right nursing college is probably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of aspects that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this article, it is essential that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community.  By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Alhambra CA.