How to Select an Accredited Nursing Program near Bullhead City AZ
Finding the right nursing college near Bullhead City AZ may seem like a formidable endeavor, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is local to your home is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are various crucial additional aspects to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are available along with what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Bullhead City AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options 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 earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Bullhead City Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 usually a 2 year program after receiving 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 attained one of the above degrees, she or he 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 don't forget to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some Bullhead City AZ students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many 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 family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Bullhead City AZ or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) as well as 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 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 working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Bullhead City 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 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 unhappy 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 Bullhead City AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Bullhead City AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Bullhead City AZ Nursing Program
Choosing the ideal nursing program is potentially the most critical first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are various variables that you must think about when selecting a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Bullhead City AZ.