How to Pick the Right RN College near Marana AZ
Locating the right nursing college near Marana AZ may feel like a challenging undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are various important additional aspects to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree choices that are available as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Marana AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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 basic illnesses or injuries.
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 attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Marana Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher 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 might want 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 typically a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers 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 don't forget to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for some Marana AZ students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with very 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 hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Marana AZ or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
- 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 agency. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ 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. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Marana 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 looking at 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Marana AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Marana AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Marana AZ Nursing School
Deciding on the ideal nursing school is perhaps the most important phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you should think about when selecting a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Marana AZ.