How to Find the Right RN Training Program near Prescott Valley AZ
Finding the best nursing program near Prescott Valley AZ may seem like a difficult endeavor, 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 must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly college or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are many key additional things to investigate before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are available along with what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Prescott Valley AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role 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
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating 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 instance, 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 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 acquire 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 descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Prescott Valley Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a more advanced 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 allowed 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 generally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for some Prescott Valley AZ students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary 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. Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Prescott Valley AZ or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive 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 requirements for registered nurses vary 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 specified 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 delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Prescott Valley AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased 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 relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates 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.
Enroll in the Best Prescott Valley AZ RN School
Enrolling in the ideal nursing college is probably the most important phase to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are various aspects that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Prescott Valley AZ.