How to Enroll In an Accredited RN School near Arcadia CA
Finding the best nursing program near Arcadia CA may seem like a formidable undertaking, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, 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 study and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are many important additional things to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive 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 primary duty is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. 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.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees 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 obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Arcadia California area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by California community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn 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 allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish to advance 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 usually a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further 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 Degrees
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many Arcadia CA students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household commitments have left you with very 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 busy schedule.
Why Enter the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an indispensable part of a Arcadia CA medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often choose the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related facets, is appealing to many who decide to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work environments, such as home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses provide direct patient care, others opt to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Arcadia CA or on the web, you can use the following checklist 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 essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary 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 other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in California for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific 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 a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, check 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 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Arcadia CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Arcadia CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Arcadia CA RN School
Picking the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most critical phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this article, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Arcadia CA.