How to Find the Best Nursing Program near Arcadia CA
Locating the best nursing program near Arcadia CA may seem like a complex undertaking, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional considerations to explore before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Arcadia CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from 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 just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Arcadia California area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually 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 want 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 typically a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance 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) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to check with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some Arcadia CA students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Arcadia CA or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate 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. Besides helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in California for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along 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 essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the California school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Arcadia 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Arcadia CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Arcadia CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Arcadia CA Nursing School
Deciding on the ideal nursing degree program is perhaps the most crucial step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many variables that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each 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 desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Arcadia CA.