How to Choose the Best RN College near Glendale AZ
Selecting the best nursing school near Glendale AZ may feel like a difficult project, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional considerations to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are available together with what the roles of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Glendale AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees to choose from 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 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Glendale 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 including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally 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 may 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 typically a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides 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, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for many Glendale AZ students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Glendale AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points 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 measures up 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 organization. Aside from helping verify that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Glendale 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 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Glendale AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Glendale AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Glendale AZ Nursing Program
Choosing the ideal nursing program is probably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are many variables that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Glendale AZ.