How to Find the Best Nursing Course near Prescott Valley AZ
Searching for the best nursing program near Prescott Valley AZ may feel like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many essential additional things to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at 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 most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Prescott Valley AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing 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 higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees 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 as little as two years, or continue on to earn 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 Prescott Valley Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically 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 may desire 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 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained 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. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for many Prescott Valley AZ students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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 easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Prescott Valley AZ or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, 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 readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Prescott Valley AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Prescott Valley AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Prescott Valley AZ Nursing School
Picking the ideal nursing college is probably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are many factors that you need to consider when choosing a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this article, it is essential that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Prescott Valley AZ.