How to Find the Best RN College near Prescott Valley AZ
Selecting the best nursing school near Prescott Valley AZ may seem like a challenging undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order 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 selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional aspects to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are available along with what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Prescott Valley AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly 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.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option 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 acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Prescott Valley Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two 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 use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four 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 progress 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 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other 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 schools online is becoming a more popular way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for some Prescott Valley AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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. So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Prescott Valley AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other programs.
- 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Prescott Valley 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Prescott Valley AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Prescott Valley AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Prescott Valley AZ RN School
Selecting the right nursing college is probably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of factors that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Prescott Valley AZ.