How to Pick the Right Nursing College near Gilbert AZ
Searching for the best nursing college near Gilbert AZ may seem like a complicated project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate 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 selection. The fact is, too many future students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is local to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are many key additional factors to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Gilbert AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option offered 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 explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Gilbert Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want to progress 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 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for many Gilbert AZ students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Gilbert AZ or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many 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 workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together 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 essential that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Gilbert 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Gilbert AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Gilbert AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Gilbert AZ RN Program
Selecting the ideal nursing program is arguably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are various variables that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Gilbert AZ.