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Nursing School Degree Programs Alhambra California

How to Find the Right Nursing Course near Alhambra CA

Alhambra CA RN with Doctor and PatientFinding the right nursing school near Alhambra CA may feel like a challenging undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence is no doubt not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional aspects to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are offered together with what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Alhambra CA RN taking blood pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Alhambra CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Alhambra California Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option available to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 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 offered to aspiring students in the Alhambra California area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually 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 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 normally a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the California board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Degrees

Alhambra CA student attending nursing classes onlineAttending nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for some Alhambra CA students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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. Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an integral component of a Alhambra CA medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, among the most notable are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly choose the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related facets, is attractive to many who decide to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work settings, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses deliver direct patient care, others choose to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

questions to ask Alhambra CA nursing training collegesNow that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, and 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 no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.

  • 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 confirm that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available 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) as well as 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 enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, contact 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential 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 healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
  • 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many 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 help with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Best Alhambra CA RN Program

Alhambra CA nurse holding newbornPicking the ideal nursing school is potentially the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you must think about when deciding on a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Alhambra CA.