How to Choose an Accredited Nursing Degree Program near Goodyear AZ
Locating the best nursing program near Goodyear AZ may feel like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are several important additional factors to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are available together with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Goodyear AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher 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 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 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 obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn 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 Goodyear Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards 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 generally a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 generally a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has acquired 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. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many Goodyear AZ students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Goodyear AZ or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will look at. 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a quality 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 are different 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. Certain states require a specified 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 delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Goodyear AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools 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 unhappy 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 attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask 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
Picking the right nursing program is potentially the most critical step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various factors that you must consider when deciding on a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this article, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick 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 Goodyear AZ.