How to Choose the Best Nursing Training Program near San Luis AZ
Searching for the best nursing college near San Luis AZ may seem like a complex endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is local to your residence is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various important additional considerations to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are available along with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including San Luis AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a nurse. And 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 two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the San Luis Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive 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 past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 typically a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain training and earn 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 conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for some San Luis AZ students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily 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. So if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near San Luis AZ or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of 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 previously mentioned, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to find 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 assessments 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the San Luis AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with San Luis AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best San Luis AZ Nursing Program
Enrolling in the right nursing degree program is probably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are various variables that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is essential that you pick a nursing school 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 develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in San Luis AZ.