How to Find an Accredited RN Program near Lake Havasu City AZ
Finding the best nursing school 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 must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are a number of key additional aspects to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are available together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, 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.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options offered to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to attain 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 Lake Havasu City 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 job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 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 might desire to progress 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 generally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received 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. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more in demand way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many Lake Havasu City AZ students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Lake Havasu City AZ or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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. Aside from helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some 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 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 practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine 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 opinions 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Lake Havasu City AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Lake Havasu City AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Lake Havasu City AZ Nursing School
Deciding on the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many factors that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this content, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Lake Havasu City AZ.