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Nursing School Degree Programs Gilbert Arizona

How to Choose the Right RN College near Gilbert AZ

Gilbert AZ RN with Physician and PatientFinding the best nursing college near Gilbert AZ may feel like a complex undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are many key additional aspects to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Gilbert AZ Nurse taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Gilbert AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

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

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

Nursing Degrees

Gilbert Arizona Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option available 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief 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 usually a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 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 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 generally a two year program after receiving 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 acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Schools

Gilbert AZ student attending RN college onlineEnrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain 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 practical solution to finding the time to attend college for many Gilbert AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an important part 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 healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, among the most significant are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a medical facility or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often choose the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This human side of the health profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who elect to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work environments, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses provide primary patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

questions to ask Gilbert AZ nursing training collegesOnce you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Gilbert AZ or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you receive 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 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check 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 assessments 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 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 contacts to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Gilbert AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Best Gilbert AZ RN Program

Gilbert AZ nurse holding babyDeciding on the right nursing college is potentially the most important step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are many variables that you must take into account when picking a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Gilbert AZ.