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Nursing School Degree Programs Alhambra California

How to Find the Right Nursing Course near Alhambra CA

Alhambra CA Registered Nurse with Physician and PatientSelecting the right nursing program near Alhambra CA may seem like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are several crucial additional factors to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are available as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Alhambra CA Nurse taking blood pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Alhambra CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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 Degree Options

Alhambra California Nurse assisting surgeon

There are several degree options available to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations 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 2 year program made available by California community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically 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 advance 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 typically a 2 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.

When 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 change from state to state, so make sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Programs

Alhambra CA woman attending RN college onlineAttending nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for many Alhambra CA students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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 family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an important part of a Alhambra CA medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, among the most significant are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often go into the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the health profession, rather than the research or analytical related elements, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a variety of work environments, including nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses provide primary patient care, others elect to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Schools

questions to ask Alhambra CA nursing degree programsNow that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with 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 options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 agency. Besides helping verify that you get a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available 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) together with 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch 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 judgments 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Alhambra CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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 requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Alhambra CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Best Alhambra CA RN School

Alhambra CA nurse holding babyPicking the right nursing program is arguably the most critical step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are many factors that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional 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 final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Alhambra CA.