How to Find an Accredited Nursing Program near Lake Havasu City AZ
Selecting the right nursing college near Lake Havasu City AZ may seem like a complex project, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are many crucial additional factors to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are available along with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating 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), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly 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 Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees available to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six 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 typically a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many Lake Havasu City AZ students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many 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 little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Why Become a Nurse?Nurses are an important part of a Lake Havasu City AZ medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to a number of opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, the most meaningful are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often choose the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the healthcare profession, rather than the research or analytical related facets, is attractive to many who decide to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While most nurses provide primary patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Lake Havasu City AZ or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with 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 assessments 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Lake Havasu City AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain 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 requirements for licensing as well. 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 Right Lake Havasu City AZ RN Program
Choosing the right nursing college is perhaps the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of aspects that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is essential that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Lake Havasu City AZ.