How to Select an Accredited RN Training Program near Peoria AZ
Selecting the best nursing school near Peoria AZ may feel like a difficult endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are many essential additional considerations to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are available as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including Peoria AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a nurse. And in order 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 obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered 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 facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to advance 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 normally a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained 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 vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending 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 center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend school for many Peoria AZ students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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 obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Peoria AZ or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain 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 delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 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 dissatisfied 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 superb reputation within the Peoria AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check 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 Right Peoria AZ RN Program
Selecting the right nursing program is perhaps the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are many aspects that you need to consider when choosing a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Peoria AZ.