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Nursing School Degree Programs Bell Gardens California

How to Find the Best RN Program near Bell Gardens CA

Bell Gardens CA Nurse with Physician and PatientLocating the best nursing college near Bell Gardens CA may seem like a challenging endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are several important additional factors to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree options that are available along with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Bell Gardens CA RN taking blood pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Bell Gardens CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

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

Bell Gardens California Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Bell Gardens California area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by California community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 usually 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 received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to check with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Schools

Bell Gardens CA student attending nursing school onlineEnrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for some Bell Gardens CA students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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. So if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an important part of a Bell Gardens CA medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, the most significant are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly choose the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This human aspect of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is attractive to many who decide to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a number of work settings, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses deliver primary patient care, others opt to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Programs

what to ask Bell Gardens CA nursing degree collegesNow that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Bell Gardens CA or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt 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 manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in California for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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 specific 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 delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the California school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Bell Gardens 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 schools 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 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 superb reputation within the Bell Gardens CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Bell Gardens CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Best Bell Gardens CA Nursing School

Bell Gardens CA pediatric nurse holding newbornEnrolling in the ideal nursing program is probably the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of aspects that you need to think about when choosing a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is essential that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community.  By utilizing our list 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 proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Bell Gardens CA.