How to Select an Accredited Nursing School near San Tan Valley AZ
Finding the right nursing school near San Tan Valley AZ may seem like a formidable undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional things to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as San Tan Valley AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options 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 receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the San Tan Valley Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers 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 previous 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 job market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received 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 change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with 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 instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for some San Tan Valley AZ students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous 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 commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near San Tan Valley AZ or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- 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 organization. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some 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 delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations 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 call some San Tan Valley 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the San Tan Valley AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with San Tan Valley AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right San Tan Valley AZ Nursing School
Picking the ideal nursing school is probably the most important step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of variables that you need to consider when picking a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in San Tan Valley AZ.