How to Enroll In the Right RN Degree Program near Arden Arcade CA
Finding the best nursing school near Arden Arcade CA may seem like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional aspects to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are available along with what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Arden Arcade CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing 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 complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
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 obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions 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 usually a two year program offered by California community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 typically a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to check with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many Arden Arcade CA students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more 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. And so if your job and household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Arden Arcade CA or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- 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 agency. Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in California for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, 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 preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, check with the California school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Arden Arcade 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 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 unhappy 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 Arden Arcade CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Arden Arcade CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Arden Arcade CA RN School
Picking the right nursing degree program is arguably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous variables that you must take into account when selecting a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is essential that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Arden Arcade CA.