How to Enroll In the Best RN Training Program near Arcadia CA
Selecting the right nursing school near Arcadia CA may feel like a complex endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is closest to your house is probably not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are various important additional considerations to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Arcadia CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
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 receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 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 generally a 2 year program offered by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later 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 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 wish to progress 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 generally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for some Arcadia CA students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like 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 pursue 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 nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, the most significant are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly go into the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This human side of the healthcare profession, rather than the research or analytical related facets, is attractive to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work settings, including nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While most nurses deliver direct patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Arcadia CA or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, 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 select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
- 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. Besides helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, check with the California school licensing authority to find out 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 assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Arcadia CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Arcadia CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Arcadia CA Nursing School
Selecting the ideal nursing school is potentially the most important step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist 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 proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Arcadia CA.