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Nursing School Degree Programs Arcadia California

How to Enroll In the Right Nursing Course near Arcadia CA

Arcadia CA Nurse with Doctor and PatientFinding the best nursing school near Arcadia CA may seem like a challenging project, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain 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 choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is local to your residence is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of important additional aspects to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree options that are available together with what the roles of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Arcadia CA Nurse taking blood pressure of patient

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Arcadia CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Maintaining 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 commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Arcadia California Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option offered 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 earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Arcadia California area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by California community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize 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 expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 job market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after obtaining 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 earned 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. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Classes

Arcadia CA student attending RN classes onlineAttending nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Arcadia CA students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an indispensable component of a Arcadia CA medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to a number of opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, among the most notable are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly choose the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This human side of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related aspects, is appealing to many who decide to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work environments, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses deliver direct patient care, others elect to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges

what to ask Arcadia CA nursing training schoolsNow that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Arcadia CA or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.

  • 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 obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, contact the California school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Arcadia CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Arcadia CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Best Arcadia CA RN Program

Arcadia CA RN holding newbornChoosing the right nursing degree program is arguably the most critical phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are a number of factors that you should think about when picking a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community.  By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Arcadia CA.