How to Pick the Right RN Program near Lake Havasu City AZ
Choosing the best nursing college near Lake Havasu City AZ may seem like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision solely 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 house is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of key additional aspects to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree options that are available along with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option 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 as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Lake Havasu City Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 employment market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After 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. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for many Lake Havasu City AZ students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Lake Havasu City AZ or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably 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 choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick 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. In addition to helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered 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) 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 provides 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 evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Lake Havasu City 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 colleges 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Lake Havasu City AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Lake Havasu City AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Lake Havasu City AZ RN School
Enrolling in the right nursing college is arguably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you must take into account when picking a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial 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 outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Lake Havasu City AZ.