How to Find the Right Nursing Degree Program near Marana AZ
Choosing the best nursing program near Marana AZ may seem like a formidable endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your home is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are many crucial additional aspects to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree alternatives that are offered together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care 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 primary duty is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options 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 acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Marana Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 commonly a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for many Marana AZ students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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. Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Marana AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you get a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out 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 programs 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Marana AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Marana AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Marana AZ Nursing School
Picking the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most critical phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are numerous aspects that you should think about when selecting a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Marana AZ.