How to Pick an Accredited Nursing Degree Program near Buckeye AZ
Locating the right nursing school near Buckeye AZ may feel like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your home is probably not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional factors to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Buckeye AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and generally 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 Degree Options
There is more than one degree option available 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations 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 made available by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically 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 desire 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 normally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Some 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 performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some Buckeye AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many 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 responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Buckeye AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares 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 organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may assist 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, 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 comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 colleges 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Buckeye AZ healthcare 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 environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Buckeye AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Buckeye AZ RN Program
Selecting the ideal nursing school is perhaps the most important phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of aspects that you must think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Buckeye AZ.