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Nursing School Degree Programs Mesa Arizona

How to Pick the Right RN College near Mesa AZ

Mesa AZ Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientLocating the best nursing college near Mesa AZ may seem like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various important additional considerations to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Mesa AZ Nurse taking vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Mesa AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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.

Nursing Degree Options

Mesa Arizona Nurse assisting surgeon

There are several degree options 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 just 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Mesa Arizona area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally 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 may 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 usually a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

Once 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) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Programs

Mesa AZ student attending nursing college onlineEnrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for many Mesa AZ students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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. Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an indispensable part of a Mesa AZ medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, among the most significant are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the health profession, rather than the research or analytical related elements, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work environments, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses deliver personal patient care, others elect to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Schools

questions to ask Mesa AZ nursing degree collegesNow that you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Mesa AZ or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly 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 selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific 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 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 services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Mesa 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Mesa AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Mesa AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Right Mesa AZ RN Program

Mesa AZ nurse holding babySelecting the right nursing school is perhaps the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed in this post, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Mesa AZ.