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Nursing School Degree Programs El Mirage Arizona

How to Select an Accredited Nursing Course near El Mirage AZ

El Mirage AZ RN with Doctor and PatientChoosing the right nursing college near El Mirage AZ may feel like a complex project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional aspects to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

El Mirage AZ Nurse taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including El Mirage AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific 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 functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Keeping health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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

El Mirage Arizona RN assisting surgeon

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 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 brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the El Mirage Arizona area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It preps 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 attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 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 desire 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 usually a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has obtained 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 vary from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Classes

El Mirage Arizona student attending RN classes onlineEnrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend college for some El Mirage AZ students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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 household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Schools

Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near El Mirage AZ or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.

  • 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. In addition to helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified 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 provides an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some El Mirage AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the El Mirage AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with El Mirage AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right El Mirage AZ RN Program

Deciding on the ideal nursing degree program is potentially the most critical phase to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of factors that you should think about when selecting a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is essential that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community.  By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in El Mirage AZ.