How to Select an Accredited Nursing College near San Luis AZ
Selecting the right nursing program near San Luis AZ may feel like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are various important additional things to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as San Luis AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising 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 accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options offered 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 acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries 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 normally a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 progress 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 receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained 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. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for many San Luis AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near San Luis AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous 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 workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific 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 excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 colleges 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the San Luis AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with San Luis AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best San Luis AZ RN School
Deciding on the right nursing college is arguably the most important phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you must take into account when choosing a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this content, it is important that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in San Luis AZ.