How to Choose an Accredited Nursing Degree Program near Azusa CA
Searching for the right nursing school near Azusa CA may feel like a difficult project, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various key additional factors to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Azusa CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific 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:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing 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 typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from 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 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Azusa California area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally 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 ultimately earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 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 might want 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 usually a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend school for many Azusa CA students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Azusa CA or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.
- 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in California for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 colleges you are looking at 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Azusa CA medical 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 setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Azusa CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Azusa CA Nursing Program
Deciding on the right nursing school is arguably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are many aspects that you must consider when choosing a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing 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 proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Azusa CA.