How to Enroll In an Accredited RN Degree Program near Prescott Valley AZ
Selecting the right nursing school near Prescott Valley AZ may feel like a complicated undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are several essential additional aspects to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are offered together with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Prescott Valley AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced 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 Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six 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 preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four 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 may want 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 commonly a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many Prescott Valley AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with 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.
Why Choose the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an essential component of a Prescott Valley AZ medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, among the most notable are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly choose the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This human side of the healthcare profession, rather than the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who decide to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work settings, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While many nurses provide primary patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Prescott Valley AZ or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick 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. Aside from helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific 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 an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Prescott Valley 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Prescott Valley AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites 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 positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Prescott Valley AZ RN Program
Choosing the right nursing degree program is arguably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are many aspects that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this post, it is important that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Prescott Valley AZ.