How to Pick the Best RN Degree Program near Bellflower CA
Locating the right nursing program near Bellflower CA may feel like a difficult endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper 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 thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are several key additional aspects to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree options that are available together with what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Bellflower CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function 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 along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced 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 provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees offered 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 acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Bellflower California area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by California community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 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 wish to progress 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 two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for some Bellflower CA students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and whether 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 no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you get a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in California for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain 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 excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, contact the California school licensing authority to find out 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 opinions 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 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Bellflower CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get 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 mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Bellflower CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Bellflower CA Nursing Program
Deciding on the right nursing degree program is potentially the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of aspects that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Bellflower CA.