How to Choose the Best RN Course near Azusa CA
Searching for the best nursing school near Azusa CA may seem like a difficult undertaking, 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 acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is local to your home is no doubt not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are many essential additional things to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Azusa CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing 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 high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a nurse. And in order 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 continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Azusa California area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 usually a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to contact the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more in demand way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for many Azusa CA students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Azusa CA or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check 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 as well. Also, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Azusa 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 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 dissatisfied 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 favorable reputation within the Azusa CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Azusa CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Azusa CA RN School
Choosing the right nursing degree program is arguably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are various variables that you need to take into account when picking a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is important that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare 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.