How to Pick the Best RN Program near Bullhead City AZ
Selecting the best nursing program near Bullhead City AZ may feel like a formidable endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, 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 determine the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are many important additional aspects to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are offered together with what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Bullhead City AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver 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 just two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Bullhead City Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain 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 allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for some Bullhead City AZ students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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. And so if your work and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Bullhead City AZ or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start 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 essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.
- 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 organization. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Bullhead City 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 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 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Bullhead City AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Bullhead City AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Bullhead City AZ Nursing School
Selecting the right nursing college is perhaps the most critical first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various variables that you need to consider when choosing a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is essential that you pick a nursing school 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 produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Bullhead City AZ.