How to Pick an Accredited Nursing College near Peoria AZ
Finding the best nursing program near Peoria AZ may feel like a challenging project, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are several important additional aspects to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are available as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Peoria AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining 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 often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer 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 in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to attain 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 Peoria Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ 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 in depth training than the ADN. It is typically 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 may desire to progress 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 typically a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers 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) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for some Peoria AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of 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 household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Why Become a Nurse?Nurses are an indispensable component of a Peoria AZ medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, among the most meaningful are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often go into the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This human side of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related facets, is appealing to many who decide to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work environments, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses provide primary patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Peoria AZ or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different 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 delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine 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 opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges you are looking at 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Peoria AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective 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 requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Peoria AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Peoria AZ Nursing Program
Enrolling in the ideal nursing school is perhaps the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are many factors that you need to think about when choosing a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Peoria AZ.