How to Choose an Accredited RN College near Maricopa AZ
Locating the right nursing school near Maricopa AZ may seem like a difficult undertaking, especially 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 need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are various key additional things to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are available together with what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Maricopa AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Maricopa Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 job market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. 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 college for some Maricopa AZ students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even additional 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Choose Nursing as a Career?Nurses are an essential component of a Maricopa AZ medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, among the most meaningful are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This human side of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work settings, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses provide primary patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, along with if 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 no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch 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 opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools 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 unhappy 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 favorable reputation within the Maricopa AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Maricopa AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Maricopa AZ Nursing Program
Deciding on the ideal nursing program is arguably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are numerous aspects that you need to think about when choosing a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using 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 dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Maricopa AZ.