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Nursing School Degree Programs Azusa California

How to Select the Right RN Course near Azusa CA

Azusa CA Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientSelecting the right nursing program near Azusa CA may feel like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is closest to your house is probably not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are several important additional factors to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Azusa CA RN taking blood pressure of patient

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

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Keeping health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

Azusa California Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

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 earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief 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 typically a 2 year program offered by California community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 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 obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example 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. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Degrees

Azusa CA student attending nursing college onlineEnrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for some Azusa CA students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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 training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges

Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, as well as 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 probably 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 choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school along with the cost 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 prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.

  • 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. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in California for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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. Certain states require a specific 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 prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, 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 opinions 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Azusa CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check 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

Azusa California RN holding medical chartEnrolling in the ideal nursing program is potentially the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many aspects that you should take into account when selecting a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare 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 ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Azusa CA.