How to Pick the Right RN Degree Program near Catalina Foothills AZ
Finding the best nursing program near Catalina Foothills AZ may seem like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are several important additional factors to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Catalina Foothills AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options offered 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 just 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries 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 generally a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 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 desire 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 commonly 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.
When a graduating student has received 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 vary from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some Catalina Foothills AZ students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Catalina Foothills AZ or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many 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 delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 schools you are considering 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Catalina Foothills AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Catalina Foothills AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Catalina Foothills AZ RN Program
Choosing the ideal nursing degree program is perhaps the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous aspects that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this post, it is important that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Catalina Foothills AZ.