How to Enroll In the Best Nursing College near Prescott AZ
Finding the best nursing college near Prescott AZ may feel like a complex project, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are several crucial additional aspects to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree choices that are available as well as what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Prescott 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 specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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 multiple degrees offered 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 acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Prescott Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities 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) supplies more expansive 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 prior 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 typically a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many Prescott AZ students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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 family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Prescott AZ or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in securing 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Prescott 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 schools 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 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 AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Prescott AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Prescott AZ RN Program
Deciding on the ideal nursing degree program is probably the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many aspects that you must think about when picking a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using 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 right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Prescott AZ.