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Nursing School Degree Programs Alhambra California

How to Find the Best RN Course near Alhambra CA

Alhambra CA Registered Nurse with Physician and PatientFinding the best nursing college near Alhambra CA may feel like a challenging endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are many key additional things to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree options that are available as well as what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Alhambra CA RN taking vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical 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 basic duty is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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 Degree Options

Alhambra California RN 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 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Alhambra California area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered 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 employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After 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) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to contact the California board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Classes

Alhambra CA student attending nursing classes onlineAttending nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for some Alhambra CA students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an indispensable part of a Alhambra CA medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, among the most significant are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly go into the profession out of a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related aspects, is appealing to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a number of work settings, including nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses provide direct patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

questions to ask Alhambra CA nursing training schoolsOnce 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 utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, 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. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in California for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific 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 a top-notch education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online 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. Also, check with the California school licensing authority to find 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 assessments 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Alhambra CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Alhambra CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Alhambra CA Nursing School

Alhambra CA nurse holding newbornSelecting the right nursing degree program is perhaps the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are many factors that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community.  By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Alhambra CA.