How to Choose the Right RN School near Buckeye AZ
Finding the best nursing program near Buckeye AZ may feel like a complex project, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of key additional factors to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including Buckeye AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role 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 along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing 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 often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer 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 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 earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Buckeye Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 generally a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some Buckeye AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Buckeye AZ or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm 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 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, get in touch 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 judgments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Buckeye AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Buckeye AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Buckeye AZ Nursing School
Deciding on the ideal nursing college is probably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are various aspects that you must consider when selecting a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this content, it is essential that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Buckeye AZ.