How to Pick the Right RN Training Program near Avondale AZ
Searching for the best nursing college near Avondale AZ may feel like a formidable project, particularly 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 need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various key additional aspects to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Avondale AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from to become a nurse. And in order 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 as little as two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Avondale Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 typically a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she 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 contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for many Avondale AZ students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily 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. So if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Avondale AZ or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see 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 agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Avondale AZ 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Avondale AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best 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 mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Avondale AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Avondale AZ RN School
Selecting the right nursing program is probably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are various factors that you should take into account when selecting a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this article, it is critical that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Avondale AZ.