How to Pick an Accredited Nursing Degree Program near Peoria AZ
Selecting the best nursing school near Peoria AZ may feel like a complex undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are several key additional considerations to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree choices that are offered together with what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Peoria AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing 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), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally 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.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Peoria Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 employment market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more in demand way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some Peoria AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other 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 such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Peoria AZ or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to check 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 judgments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools 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 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 verify 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 employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Peoria AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Peoria AZ Nursing School
Deciding on the ideal nursing college is perhaps the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are many aspects that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Peoria AZ.