How to Select the Right Nursing College near Chandler AZ
Searching for the best nursing school near Chandler AZ may seem like a difficult endeavor, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many essential additional factors to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Chandler AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing 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), for instance, 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 to choose from to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend 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 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Chandler Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 normally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don't forget to check 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 receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for some Chandler AZ students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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. So if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Chandler AZ or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably 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 choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ 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. 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 attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Chandler 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 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Chandler AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal 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 too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Chandler AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Chandler AZ RN School
Picking the right nursing degree program is probably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are numerous aspects that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is essential that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using 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 proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Chandler AZ.