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Nursing School Degree Programs Peoria Arizona

How to Choose the Right Nursing Course near Peoria AZ

Peoria AZ Nurse with Doctor and PatientSearching for the best nursing program near Peoria AZ may seem like a complicated project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are many important additional things to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Peoria AZ Nurse taking blood pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Peoria AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level 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 Degrees Available

Peoria Arizona Nurse assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees available to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Peoria Arizona area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available 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 ultimately achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 commonly a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has earned 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. Other 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.

Online Nursing Degrees

Peoria AZ woman attending RN classes onlineAttending nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for some Peoria AZ students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an indispensable part of a Peoria AZ medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing 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 practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often go into the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This human side of the health profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related facets, is attractive to many who decide to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a number of work environments, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While most nurses deliver primary patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Schools

what to ask Peoria AZ nursing degree schoolsOnce you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Peoria AZ or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure 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 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. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies 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 call some Peoria AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools you are considering 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Peoria AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Peoria AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Best Peoria AZ RN School

Peoria AZ pediatric nurse holding babyPicking the ideal nursing program is probably the most important first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are various factors that you must take into account when picking a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community.  By utilizing our checklist 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 dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Peoria AZ.