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Nursing School Degree Programs Azusa California

How to Select the Best RN Program near Azusa CA

Azusa CA Nurse with Physician and PatientLocating the right nursing school near Azusa CA may seem like a complex endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is local to your residence is most likely not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are various key additional factors to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree alternatives that are offered along with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Azusa CA RN taking vital signs of patient

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Azusa CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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.

Nursing Degrees

Azusa California Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option available 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 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Azusa California area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by California community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 job market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has obtained 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. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Programs

Azusa CA woman attending nursing college onlineEnrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend school for some Azusa CA students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily 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. Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Azusa CA or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous 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 manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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. Some 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 enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Azusa 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Azusa CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Azusa CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Azusa CA Nursing School

Azusa California RN holding patient chartDeciding on the ideal nursing school is probably the most important step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are various factors that you must think about when picking a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Azusa CA.