How to Choose the Right RN Program near Bellflower CA
Selecting the right nursing school near Bellflower CA may seem like a complex endeavor, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are several crucial additional factors to explore before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the roles of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Bellflower CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly 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 Degree Options
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a nurse. And 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 just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Bellflower California area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by California community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare 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) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 employment market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Bellflower CA students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Bellflower CA or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will look at. 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 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Bellflower 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Bellflower CA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Bellflower CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Bellflower CA RN School
Choosing the ideal nursing degree program is arguably the most important step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of aspects that you need to consider when choosing a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is critical that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Bellflower CA.