How to Pick the Right RN Degree Program near San Luis AZ
Searching for the right nursing school near San Luis AZ may feel like a difficult undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many future students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence is no doubt not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many important additional considerations to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree options that are offered together with what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely San Luis AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level 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 common illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options available 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 brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the San Luis 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 healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 generally 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.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance 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 center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for many San Luis AZ students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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. So if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Why Enter the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an important component of a San Luis AZ medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, among the most significant are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a medical facility or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly choose the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This human side of the health profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related elements, is appealing to many who choose to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work environments, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses provide personal patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near San Luis AZ or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 agency. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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. Many 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 enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some San Luis 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 colleges you are considering 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the San Luis AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with San Luis AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right San Luis AZ Nursing Program
Deciding on the ideal nursing program is probably the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of aspects that you must consider when choosing a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed in this content, it is important that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in San Luis AZ.