How to Choose the Best RN Program near Bullhead City AZ
Selecting the best nursing college near Bullhead City AZ may feel like a challenging project, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many future students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your house is probably not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional considerations to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are offered together with what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Bullhead City AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to obtain 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 Bullhead City Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 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 may desire 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 typically a two year program after attaining 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, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for many Bullhead City AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Bullhead City AZ or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary 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. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with 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 schools you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good 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 most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Bullhead City AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Bullhead City AZ Nursing School
Deciding on the right nursing program is probably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of variables that you need to think about when picking a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed in this post, it is critical 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 list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list 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.