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Nursing School Degree Programs Gilbert Arizona

How to Select the Best Nursing School near Gilbert AZ

Gilbert AZ RN with Doctor and PatientFinding the right nursing college near Gilbert AZ may feel like a formidable project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several essential additional factors to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree alternatives that are available as well as what the functions of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Gilbert AZ RN taking vital signs of patient

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Gilbert AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing 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), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly 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 Degree Options

Gilbert Arizona RN assisting surgeon

There are several degree options 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 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries 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 offered by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually 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 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 generally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Programs

Gilbert AZ student attending nursing college onlineEnrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend classes for many Gilbert AZ students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Gilbert AZ or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain 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 exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to determine 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 assessments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Gilbert AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Gilbert AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best Gilbert AZ Nursing School

Gilbert Arizona RN holding medical chartDeciding on the right nursing degree program is probably the most crucial step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many factors that you need to think about when picking a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Gilbert AZ.