How to Select the Best RN Program near Arcadia CA
Locating the best nursing program near Arcadia CA may feel like a complex endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional things to explore before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are offered together with what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Arcadia CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option 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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short 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 typically a 2 year program made available by California community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 usually a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number 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 approach to finding the time to attend college for some Arcadia CA students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Choose the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an essential component of a Arcadia CA medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to a number of opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, among the most significant are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently go into the profession due to a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This human side of the health profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related aspects, is appealing to many who decide to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a variety of work environments, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses provide primary patient care, others elect to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Arcadia CA or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may help in securing 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified 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 delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, check with the California school licensing authority to determine 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 assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs you are looking at 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Arcadia CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask 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 Nursing School
Choosing the ideal nursing school is probably the most important step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous variables that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Arcadia CA.