How to Choose an Accredited Nursing Course near Alhambra CA
Locating the best nursing school near Alhambra CA may feel like a complex project, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination entirely 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 undoubtedly not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are various key additional considerations to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are offered as well as what the functions 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 Alhambra CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options to choose from 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 acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Alhambra California area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by California community colleges. It preps 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 later attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 commonly a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned 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. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for some Alhambra CA students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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. And so if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Alhambra CA or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in California for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain 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 attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, check with the California school licensing authority to find out 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Alhambra CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Alhambra CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Alhambra CA Nursing School
Selecting the ideal nursing degree program is perhaps the most important phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Alhambra CA.