How to Pick the Best Nursing Degree Program near Goodyear AZ
Searching for the best nursing school near Goodyear AZ may feel like a complex endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already 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 study and measure the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional factors to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree alternatives that are available together with what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Goodyear AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact 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
- 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 advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and generally 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 are multiple degrees offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain 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 Goodyear Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 usually a 2 year program after attaining 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 attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order 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.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount 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 college for many Goodyear AZ students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very 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.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Goodyear AZ or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided 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. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Goodyear 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 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Goodyear AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Goodyear AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Goodyear AZ Nursing School
Selecting the ideal nursing degree program is potentially the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many aspects that you should consider when selecting a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Goodyear AZ.