How to Choose the Best RN Program near Catalina Foothills AZ
Finding the right nursing school near Catalina Foothills AZ may seem like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are various key additional things to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Catalina Foothills AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally 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.
There are several degree options available to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short 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 usually a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 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 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend school for many Catalina Foothills AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, some 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 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. So if your job and family commitments have left you with 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 hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Catalina Foothills AZ or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- 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 an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, 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 programs 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Catalina Foothills AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Catalina Foothills AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Catalina Foothills AZ RN Program
Deciding on the right nursing degree program is perhaps the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of aspects that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Catalina Foothills AZ.