How to Find an Accredited Nursing Degree Program near San Tan Valley AZ
Searching for the right nursing school near San Tan Valley AZ may seem like a complex undertaking, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of key additional considerations 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 together with what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as San Tan Valley AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically 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 is more than one degree option to choose from to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries 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 commonly a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive 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 prior 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 job market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a 2 year program after receiving 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 acquired one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend school for many San Tan Valley AZ students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Why Choose Nursing as a Career?Nurses are an integral part of a San Tan Valley AZ medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, among the most meaningful are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the healthcare profession, rather than the research or analytical related elements, is attractive to many who elect to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work settings, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While most nurses provide direct patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near San Tan Valley AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified 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 a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. 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 Tan Valley 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 programs you are looking at 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important 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 Tan Valley AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with San Tan Valley AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best San Tan Valley AZ RN School
Enrolling in the ideal nursing college is potentially the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of factors that you must consider when choosing a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select 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 Tan Valley AZ.