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Nursing School Degree Programs Baldwin Park California

How to Enroll In the Best Nursing Course near Baldwin Park CA

Baldwin Park CA RN with Doctor and PatientSelecting the best nursing program near Baldwin Park CA may feel like a challenging endeavor, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are several crucial additional things to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are offered together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care 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 care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Baldwin Park CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced 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 administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees

Baldwin Park California Nurse assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions 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 normally a two year program offered by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally 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 want 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 generally a two year program after receiving 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 received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Classes

Baldwin Park CA woman attending RN classes onlineAttending nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for some Baldwin Park 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 reduced, helping to make education more affordable. 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 very little 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 hectic schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an essential part of a Baldwin Park CA medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a medical facility or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently go into the profession due to a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related aspects, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work environments, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses provide primary patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

questions to ask Baldwin Park CA nursing degree collegesOnce you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Baldwin Park CA or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, check with the California school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Baldwin Park 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 schools you are considering 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Baldwin Park CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Baldwin Park CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Right Baldwin Park CA RN School

Baldwin Park CA pediatric nurse holding newbornDeciding on the right nursing degree program is arguably the most important phase to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are various factors that you should think about when choosing a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is essential that you choose a nursing school 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 create 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 hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Baldwin Park CA.