How to Pick the Best Nursing Degree Program near Casa Grande AZ
Locating the right nursing school near Casa Grande AZ may seem like a challenging undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are several important additional factors to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are offered as well as what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Casa Grande AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, 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 responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common 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 enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Casa Grande Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It readies 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 afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly 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 desire to progress 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 focus 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) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many Casa Grande AZ students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Casa Grande AZ or online, you can use the following checklist 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 necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered 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) 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 attending 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 practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Casa Grande 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied 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 good reputation within the Casa Grande AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Casa Grande AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Casa Grande AZ RN Program
Choosing the ideal nursing college is perhaps the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are many variables that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 Casa Grande AZ.