How to Find the Best RN Degree Program near Baldwin Park CA
Searching for the right nursing college near Baldwin Park CA may feel like a complicated undertaking, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are several essential additional factors to explore before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are offered together with what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Baldwin Park CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and typically 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.
There are multiple degrees 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 earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve 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 Baldwin Park California area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally 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 desire 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 typically a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired 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. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more popular way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend school for some Baldwin Park 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 can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Baldwin Park CA or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole 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 confirm that you get a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together 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 attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 considering 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Baldwin Park CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Baldwin Park CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Baldwin Park CA Nursing School
Picking the ideal nursing program is potentially the most critical step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are various variables that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick 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 Baldwin Park CA.