How to Pick the Best RN School near Phoenix AZ
Finding the best nursing program near Phoenix AZ may seem like a complicated endeavor, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various important additional things to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are offered along with what the roles of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Phoenix AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options available to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Phoenix Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 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 obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) in order to become licensed. Other 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 colleges online is becoming a more preferred 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 call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for many Phoenix AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many 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, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Nursing?Nurses are an important component of a Phoenix AZ medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, among the most meaningful are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often go into the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This human side of the healthcare profession, rather than the research or analytical related facets, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work environments, including home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses provide primary patient care, others choose to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Phoenix AZ or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose 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 probably going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain 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 preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Phoenix 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 complete 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Phoenix AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Phoenix AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Phoenix AZ RN Program
Selecting the ideal nursing degree program is probably the most important phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are various variables that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list 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 right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Phoenix AZ.