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Nursing School Degree Programs Alhambra California

How to Choose an Accredited RN Degree Program near Alhambra CA

Alhambra CA RN with Physician and PatientLocating the best nursing school near Alhambra CA may feel like a complex endeavor, especially if you don't know 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 appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many future students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is closest to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are various key additional aspects to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree choices that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Alhambra CA RN taking blood pressure of patient

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Alhambra CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing 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 generally 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 Degree Options

Alhambra California Nurse assisting surgeon

There are several degree options available to become a nurse. And in order 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 two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief 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 typically a two year program made available by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve 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 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 commonly a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

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

Online Nursing Schools

Alhambra CA woman attending nursing college onlineAttending nursing programs online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number 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 practical answer to finding the free time to attend school for some Alhambra CA students. Concerning tuition, many 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 economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

What to Ask Nursing Colleges

Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Alhambra CA or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary 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 decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the field.

  • 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 colleges 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Alhambra CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Alhambra CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Right Alhambra CA RN Program

Alhambra California RN holding medical chartChoosing the right nursing college is arguably the most important phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you need to think about when selecting a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list 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.