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Nursing School Degree Programs Arcadia California

How to Select the Best Nursing College near Arcadia CA

Arcadia CA RN with Doctor and PatientSelecting the best nursing college near Arcadia CA may feel like a complex undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of important additional aspects to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree options that are offered together with what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Arcadia CA RN taking blood pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Arcadia CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring 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 more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, 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 basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Arcadia California 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 acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Arcadia California area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by California community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 employment market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly 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 attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the California board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Classes

Arcadia CA woman attending RN college onlineAttending nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for some Arcadia CA students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

What to Ask Nursing Colleges

Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Arcadia CA or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout 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 already discussed, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in California for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, 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 opinions 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 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Arcadia CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites 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 Program

Arcadia California RN holding medical chartDeciding on the right nursing program is potentially the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous variables that you should think about when selecting a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community.  By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final 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.