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Nursing School Degree Programs Bell Gardens California

How to Choose an Accredited RN Training Program near Bell Gardens CA

Bell Gardens CA Registered Nurse with Physician and PatientSelecting the best nursing program near Bell Gardens CA may seem like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is closest to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of important additional considerations to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree alternatives that are available as well as what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Bell Gardens CA RN taking vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Bell Gardens CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Bell Gardens California RN assisting surgeon

There are several degree options available 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations 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 2 year program made available by California community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally 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 want 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 commonly a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

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

Online Nursing Schools

Bell Gardens CA student attending RN classes onlineAttending nursing programs online is growing into a more in demand way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend college for some Bell Gardens CA students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Bell Gardens CA or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school and the cost 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 prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick 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. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered 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) in addition to 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 delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards 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 looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the California school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Bell Gardens 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 schools you are looking at 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 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 superb reputation within the Bell Gardens CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Bell Gardens CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Best Bell Gardens CA Nursing Program

Bell Gardens California nurse holding patient chartEnrolling in the ideal nursing program is arguably the most crucial step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various aspects that you should consider when choosing a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this content, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding 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 pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Bell Gardens CA.