How to Find an Accredited Nursing Program near Peoria AZ
Choosing the best nursing program near Peoria AZ may seem like a complicated project, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is local to your residence is probably not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are several crucial additional factors to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Peoria AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option available 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short 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 normally a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 advance 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 obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for many Peoria AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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. So if your job and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Peoria AZ or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine 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 opinions 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 essential 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 medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites 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 placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Peoria AZ Nursing Program
Enrolling in the right nursing college is probably the most critical step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many variables that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is critical that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list 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.