How to Select an Accredited RN Degree Program near Catalina Foothills AZ
Selecting the best nursing program near Catalina Foothills AZ may feel like a challenging endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently 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 critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various crucial additional aspects to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are offered together with what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Catalina Foothills AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating 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 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 basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to attain 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 Catalina Foothills Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example 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. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more favored way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for some Catalina Foothills 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 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 limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Why Choose Nursing as a Career?Nurses are an integral part of a Catalina Foothills AZ medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, among the most notable are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently go into the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This human aspect of the healthcare profession, rather than the analytical or research related aspects, is appealing to many who decide to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work settings, including nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, including addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While many nurses provide direct patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Catalina Foothills AZ or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Catalina Foothills 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 colleges 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Catalina Foothills AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Catalina Foothills AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Catalina Foothills AZ Nursing Program
Enrolling in the right nursing college is potentially the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are various factors that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Catalina Foothills AZ.