How to Enroll In an Accredited RN Program near Gilbert AZ
Searching for the right nursing school near Gilbert AZ may feel like a complicated endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many future students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are several essential additional things to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are available as well as what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Gilbert AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing 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 complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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 Degrees Available
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 as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Gilbert Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually 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 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 typically a 2 year program after receiving 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 obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend school for some Gilbert AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Gilbert AZ or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the expense 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 before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate 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 agency. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific 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 provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 schools you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Gilbert AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Gilbert AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Gilbert AZ Nursing School
Selecting the right nursing school is probably the most critical step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous factors that you should think about when selecting a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Gilbert AZ.