How to Pick an Accredited RN Training Program near Maricopa AZ
Searching for the best nursing program near Maricopa AZ may seem like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are several crucial additional things to explore before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Maricopa AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex 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 provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to obtain 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 Maricopa Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally 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 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 normally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained 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. Various other 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 Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend school for some Maricopa AZ students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more 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 work and family commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Enter the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an indispensable part of a Maricopa AZ medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This human side of the health profession, rather than the analytical or research related elements, is attractive to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work settings, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses deliver primary patient care, others choose to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Maricopa AZ or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Maricopa 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 programs you are considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Maricopa AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain 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 too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Maricopa AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Maricopa AZ Nursing Program
Picking the ideal nursing college is arguably the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of factors that you must take into account when choosing a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Maricopa AZ.