How to Choose the Right RN Degree Program near Alhambra CA
Locating the best nursing program near Alhambra CA may feel like a challenging project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is local to your home is probably not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are many crucial additional considerations to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are available along with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as 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. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping 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 commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options offered 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 obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief 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 normally a two year program offered by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally 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 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 usually a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received 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. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many Alhambra CA students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Alhambra CA or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.
- 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 organization. Aside from helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in California for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ 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. 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 attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. 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 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 considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Alhambra CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask 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 Program
Enrolling in the ideal nursing school is potentially the most important step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are many factors that you should think about when picking a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list 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 desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Alhambra CA.