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Nursing School Degree Programs Baldwin Park California

How to Enroll In the Right RN Course near Baldwin Park CA

Baldwin Park CA Nurse with Physician and PatientLocating the right nursing program near Baldwin Park CA may feel like a difficult undertaking, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are various important additional considerations to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are offered along with what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Baldwin Park CA Nurse taking blood pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Baldwin Park CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing 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 high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Baldwin Park California Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There are several degree options offered 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 acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Baldwin Park California area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four 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 may desire 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 two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Schools

Baldwin Park CA student attending nursing classes onlineEnrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for many Baldwin Park CA students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. 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 family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Once you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Baldwin Park CA or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up 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. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in California for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed, 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 readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Baldwin Park 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Baldwin Park CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually 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. Ask if the schools have associations with Baldwin Park CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Best Baldwin Park CA RN School

Baldwin Park California nurse holding patient chartPicking the right nursing program is arguably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of aspects that you should consider when choosing a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed 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 healthcare 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Baldwin Park CA.