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Nursing School Degree Programs Apache Junction Arizona

How to Find the Best Nursing Course near Apache Junction AZ

Apache Junction AZ Registered Nurse with Physician and PatientChoosing the right nursing program near Apache Junction AZ may feel like a formidable endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are various important additional aspects to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Apache Junction AZ Nurse taking vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Apache Junction AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Keeping 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 provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

Apache Junction Arizona Nurse assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees offered to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 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 offered to aspiring students in the Apache Junction Arizona area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 commonly a two year program after attaining 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) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Programs

Apache Junction AZ woman attending RN classes onlineEnrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more in demand way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many Apache Junction AZ students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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 work and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an important part of a Apache Junction AZ medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, among the most significant are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently go into the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the health profession, rather than the analytical or research related aspects, is attractive to many who decide to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work settings, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses provide direct patient care, others choose to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Schools

questions to ask Apache Junction AZ nursing degree programsOnce you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Apache Junction AZ or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
  • 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) together with 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 outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Apache Junction AZ 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 considering 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 Apache Junction AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Apache Junction AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Apache Junction AZ RN School

Apache Junction AZ nurse holding babyPicking the right nursing school is arguably the most crucial step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous aspects that you must think about when selecting a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community.  By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Apache Junction AZ.