How to Find the Best RN College near Gilbert AZ
Finding the right nursing college near Gilbert AZ may seem like a difficult project, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are various important additional considerations to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree options that are offered together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Gilbert AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to aid doctors in the care 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. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option available to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions 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 utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth 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 past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 usually a two year program after attaining 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 attained 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. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many Gilbert AZ students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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. So if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Gilbert AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality 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 prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine 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 opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs you are considering 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Gilbert AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship 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
Enrolling in the right nursing degree program is probably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of variables that you must consider when deciding on a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is critical that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Gilbert AZ.