How to Choose the Right Nursing Degree Program near Peoria AZ
Locating the right nursing college near Peoria AZ may seem like a formidable undertaking, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order 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 measure the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are several crucial additional considerations to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are offered as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Peoria AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to support doctors in the treatment 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. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees offered to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Peoria Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 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 commonly a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for some Peoria AZ students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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. And so if your job and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Peoria AZ or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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 organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending 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. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. 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 Peoria 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 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Peoria AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Peoria AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Peoria AZ RN School
Deciding on the right nursing program is perhaps the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous variables that you must think about when choosing a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Peoria AZ.