How to Choose the Best Nursing Training Program near Queen Creek AZ
Selecting the right nursing program near Queen Creek AZ may feel like a difficult endeavor, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is closest to your house is most likely not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are several key additional aspects to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are offered together with what the roles of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Queen Creek AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating 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 high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees to choose from 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 earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Queen Creek Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally 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 wish 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 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example 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. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain 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 amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend school for some Queen Creek AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Queen Creek AZ or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.
- 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 organization. In addition to helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Queen Creek 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 programs 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 displeased 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 favorable reputation within the Queen Creek AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Queen Creek AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Queen Creek AZ RN School
Selecting the right nursing college is arguably the most important first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you should take into account when picking a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Queen Creek AZ.