How to Find an Accredited Nursing Degree Program near Buckeye AZ
Choosing the right nursing school near Buckeye AZ may feel like a complicated project, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is local to your residence is probably not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are various crucial additional things to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree options that are available along with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Buckeye AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing 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), as an 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options available to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Buckeye Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four 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 might wish 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 commonly a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend college for many Buckeye AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. 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. And so if your job and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Buckeye AZ or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly 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 prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as 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 imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Buckeye 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 complete 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Buckeye AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Buckeye AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Buckeye AZ RN Program
Deciding on the right nursing degree program is probably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are numerous aspects that you need to take into account when picking a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist 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.