How to Select the Right Nursing Program near Gilbert AZ
Locating the right nursing college near Gilbert AZ may feel like a complex undertaking, especially if you don't know what to look 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 critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is local to your house is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional things to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are available along with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Gilbert AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing 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 higher 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 deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
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 obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 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 commonly a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It readies 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 ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally 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 commonly a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has earned 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 vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many Gilbert AZ students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Why Nursing?Nurses are an essential part of a Gilbert AZ medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, the most meaningful are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly go into the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the healthcare profession, rather than the research or analytical related facets, is attractive to many who decide to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a variety of work settings, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses provide direct patient care, others choose to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have selected 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 no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to find 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 opinions 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 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Gilbert AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Gilbert AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Gilbert AZ RN School
Picking the ideal nursing college is probably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many variables that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Gilbert AZ.