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Nursing School Degree Programs Baldwin Park California

How to Choose an Accredited RN College near Baldwin Park CA

Baldwin Park CA Nurse with Physician and PatientChoosing the right nursing program near Baldwin Park CA may seem like a complex endeavor, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly program or the one that is local to your house is probably not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various essential additional considerations to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are available together with what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

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 a large number of different medical settings, including Baldwin Park CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, 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 functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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

Baldwin Park California Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six 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 normally a two year program made available by California community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities 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) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 job market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After 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) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Programs

Baldwin Park California student attending RN college onlineEnrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to get training 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 certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many Baldwin Park CA students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

Now that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether 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 options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other programs.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you receive an excellent 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the California school licensing authority to check 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 assessments 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Baldwin Park CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Baldwin Park CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Baldwin Park CA Nursing Program

Deciding on the ideal nursing degree program is probably the most critical first step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous aspects that you should consider when deciding on a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community.  By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list 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 desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Baldwin Park CA.