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Nursing School Degree Programs Chandler Arizona

How to Select the Best RN Degree Program near Chandler AZ

Chandler AZ Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientFinding the best nursing program near Chandler AZ may feel like a formidable endeavor, especially 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 receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many key additional things to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree options that are offered along with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Chandler AZ Nurse taking blood pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Chandler AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Chandler Arizona Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option 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 earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries 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 preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire to advance 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 obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After 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) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Degrees

Chandler AZ student attending nursing school onlineAttending nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Chandler 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 minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an important part of a Chandler AZ medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, the most notable are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly go into the profession due to a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This human aspect of the medical profession, rather than the analytical or research related facets, is appealing to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work environments, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses deliver primary patient care, others elect to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Programs

what to ask Chandler AZ nursing training programsOnce you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Chandler AZ or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the field.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to check 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Chandler AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Chandler AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Best Chandler AZ RN School

Chandler AZ nurse holding babySelecting the right nursing college is probably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous aspects that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is critical that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community.  By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Chandler AZ.