How to Pick the Best RN College near Azusa CA
Locating the right nursing college near Azusa CA may feel like a difficult undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are several key additional factors to investigate before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are available together with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Azusa CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular 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
- 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 higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options 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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to attain 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 Azusa California area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 employment market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for some Azusa CA students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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 family commitments have left you with limited 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 Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Azusa CA or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in California for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many 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 enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to check out 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 schools 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 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 Azusa CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Azusa CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Azusa CA RN School
Enrolling in the right nursing school is perhaps the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of variables that you should think about when choosing a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick 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 Azusa CA.