How to Enroll In the Best RN School near Maricopa AZ
Searching for the right nursing college near Maricopa AZ may seem like a challenging endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional things to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree options that are offered together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Maricopa AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option offered 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 receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six 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 usually a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 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 might desire 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 usually a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for many Maricopa AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient 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 nursing career opens doors to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, the most significant are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently go into the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related aspects, is attractive to many who decide to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work settings, including home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses deliver personal patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Maricopa AZ or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 colleges 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 displeased 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 superb reputation within the Maricopa AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Maricopa AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Maricopa AZ RN School
Selecting the ideal nursing degree program is potentially the most critical step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many variables that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in 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 healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Maricopa AZ.