How to Pick the Best RN College near Gilbert AZ
Searching for the right nursing college near Gilbert AZ may feel like a complex endeavor, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are various crucial additional aspects to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree options that are offered together with what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Gilbert AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options 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 two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 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 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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 contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for some Gilbert AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous 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 obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Why Nursing?Nurses are an essential component of a Gilbert AZ medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, among the most notable are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a medical facility or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently choose the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, rather than the research or analytical related facets, is attractive to many who elect to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work settings, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While most nurses deliver direct patient care, others choose to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Gilbert AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- 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 agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many 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 enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to check 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 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb 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 ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Gilbert AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Gilbert AZ RN Program
Choosing the right nursing degree program is probably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are many factors that you must consider when selecting a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare 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 hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Gilbert AZ.