How to Pick an Accredited Nursing Program near Alhambra CA
Choosing the best nursing college near Alhambra CA may seem like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various key additional factors to check out before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are offered together with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Alhambra CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to support doctors in the care 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. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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 Degree Options
There is more than one degree option 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 acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Alhambra California area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by California community colleges. It readies 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 afterwards achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Alhambra CA students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Alhambra CA or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in California for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the California school licensing authority to check 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 opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 substantiate 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 gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Alhambra CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Alhambra CA Nursing Program
Deciding on the ideal nursing school is perhaps the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of aspects that you must think about when picking a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select 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.