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Nursing School Degree Programs Bellflower California

How to Choose an Accredited RN Training Program near Bellflower CA

Bellflower CA Nurse with Doctor and PatientSelecting the right nursing college near Bellflower CA may seem like a complicated project, 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 must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are many important additional things to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are available together with what the roles of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Bellflower CA RN taking blood pressure of woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Bellflower CA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Maintaining 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 normally 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

Bellflower California Nurse assisting surgeon

There are several degree options 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 continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Bellflower California area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by California community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want to progress 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 normally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

Once 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 vary from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Classes

Bellflower CA student attending nursing classes onlineEnrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain 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 specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for many Bellflower CA students. Pertaining to 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 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 household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Bellflower CA or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within California and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors 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 pick compares 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in California for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ 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. Some states require a certain 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 provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Bellflower 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important 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 contacts to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Bellflower CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Bellflower CA Nursing School

Bellflower California nurse holding patient chartPicking the right nursing degree program is probably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of factors that you should think about when picking a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community.  By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Bellflower CA.