How to Choose a Nursing College in Pasadena California
Searching for the right nursing school in Pasadena CA may feel like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the nursing school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are various essential additional considerations to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system in Pasadena CA. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses in Pasadena CA with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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 basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in Pasadena CA.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in Pasadena CA medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Pasadena CA colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Pasadena CA board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Training
There are essentially two academic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest amount of time, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it should be Pasadena CA approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for Pasadena CA to make certain that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more popular way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local Pasadena CA healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even additional 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. And so if your work and family responsibilities 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 hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Pasadena CA and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.
- 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. In addition to helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools in Pasadena CA.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the California school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Pasadena 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy 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 superb reputation within the Pasadena CA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Pasadena CA clinical setting. Almost all California nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Degree in Pasadena CA
Picking the ideal registered nursing degree program is arguably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are many factors that you must think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed in this post, it is essential that you select an RN 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 shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Pasadena CA.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask nursing applicants is "What made you pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a nurse, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, in addition to a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should prepare several strategies about how you would like to answer them. Because there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an excellent nurse and the ideal choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Some Cities in California You May be Interested In