How to Enroll In an Accredited Nursing College near Peoria AZ
Finding the best nursing school near Peoria AZ may feel like a complex undertaking, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is local to your house is most likely not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of key additional aspects to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are offered together with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Peoria AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options to choose from to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 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 generally a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize 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 usually 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 might want 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 receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate 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. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more popular way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for many Peoria AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Why Enter the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an important component of a Peoria AZ medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, the most significant are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose 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 aspect of the health profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related elements, is attractive to many who choose to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work environments, including home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While most nurses provide personal patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Peoria AZ or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, 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 assessments 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Peoria AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Peoria AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Peoria AZ RN School
Deciding on the right nursing program is arguably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous variables that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Peoria AZ.