How to Choose the Best RN Program near Buckeye AZ
Searching for the best nursing program near Buckeye AZ may feel like a complex undertaking, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are various essential additional factors to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are offered along with what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Buckeye AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Buckeye Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Arizona 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 may 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 generally a 2 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.
After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend college for some Buckeye AZ students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. 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. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Buckeye AZ or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary 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. Certain 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 enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Buckeye AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools you are considering 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Buckeye AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Buckeye AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Buckeye AZ Nursing School
Enrolling in the right nursing program is arguably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are various variables that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Buckeye AZ.