How to Enroll In the Right Nursing Degree Program near Arcadia CA
Selecting the best nursing school near Arcadia CA may seem like a complex 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 must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many essential additional aspects to explore before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree options that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Arcadia CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced 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 provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option available to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six 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 typically a 2 year program offered by California community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 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 acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend school for many Arcadia CA students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. 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 responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Nursing?Nurses are an indispensable part of a Arcadia CA medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to a number of opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, among the most notable are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly go into the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the medical profession, rather than the analytical or research related facets, is attractive to many who choose to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a variety of work settings, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses deliver direct patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if 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 undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available 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) as well as 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 exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 programs 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 displeased 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 Arcadia CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Arcadia CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Arcadia CA Nursing School
Enrolling in the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most critical first step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous aspects that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed in this content, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Arcadia CA.