How to Find the Best RN School near Altadena CA
Finding the best nursing school near Altadena CA may seem like a complex undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many future students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are several key additional factors to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are available as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Altadena CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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.
There are several degree options available to become a nurse. And 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 just two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Altadena California area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 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 may 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 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired 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 change from state to state, so don't forget to check with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for some Altadena CA students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more 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 work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Altadena CA or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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 organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered 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) as well as 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 enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Altadena 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 colleges 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 displeased 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 good reputation within the Altadena CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Altadena CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Altadena CA RN School
Enrolling in the right nursing school is arguably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed within this content, it is essential that you pick 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 produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Altadena CA.