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Nursing School Degree Programs Casa Grande Arizona

How to Pick the Best RN Program near Casa Grande AZ

Casa Grande AZ RN with Doctor and PatientLocating the right nursing college near Casa Grande AZ may feel like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are a number of important additional aspects to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Casa Grande AZ Nurse taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Casa Grande AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Maintaining 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 normally 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.

Nursing Degrees Available

Casa Grande Arizona Nurse assisting surgeon

There are several degree options offered to become a nurse. And 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 as little as two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Casa Grande Arizona area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive 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 prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 commonly 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.

When a graduating student has earned 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 can vary from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Schools

Casa Grande AZ woman attending RN school onlineAttending nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend classes for some Casa Grande AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. 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 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 very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Casa Grande AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of 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 earlier discussed, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may help 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 differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain 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 provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to find 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 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 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 favorable reputation within the Casa Grande AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Casa Grande AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Right Casa Grande AZ RN Program

Casa Grande Arizona nurse holding patient chartChoosing the right nursing school is probably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are a number of factors that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community.  By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Casa Grande AZ.