How to Pick an Accredited RN Training Program near Prescott AZ
Searching for the right nursing college near Prescott AZ may feel like a formidable project, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional things to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Prescott AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Prescott Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four 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 may wish 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 normally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some Prescott AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Become a Nurse?Nurses are an important part of a Prescott AZ medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, among the most meaningful are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly choose the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This human aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is attractive to many who decide to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work settings, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses deliver primary patient care, others opt to be educators, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Prescott AZ or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out 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 judgments 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 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Prescott AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Prescott AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Prescott AZ RN Program
Selecting the ideal nursing degree program is perhaps the most important step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous factors that you must take into account when picking a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed in this article, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Prescott AZ.