How to Pick the Best Nursing School near Arden Arcade CA
Finding the right nursing program near Arden Arcade CA may feel like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, 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 research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional considerations to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are available as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Arden Arcade CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing 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 complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic 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 enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Arden Arcade California area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally 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 want 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 typically a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for some Arden Arcade CA students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. 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 work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Arden Arcade CA or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
- 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 make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Arden Arcade 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 programs 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 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Arden Arcade CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Arden Arcade CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Arden Arcade CA RN School
Enrolling in the right nursing school is potentially the most important phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are various variables that you must consider when picking a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Arden Arcade CA.