How to Select an Accredited RN Training Program near Lake Havasu City AZ
Selecting the best nursing program near Lake Havasu City AZ may feel like a challenging endeavor, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are many key additional factors to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are offered together with what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options 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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to earn 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 usually a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn 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 four 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 wish 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 normally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for many Lake Havasu City AZ students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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. And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Lake Havasu City AZ or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.
- 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 agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Lake Havasu City 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 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 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 Lake Havasu City AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts 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 setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Lake Havasu City AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Lake Havasu City AZ RN School
Choosing the right nursing program is perhaps the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous factors that you need to consider when choosing a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Lake Havasu City AZ.