How to Find the Best Nursing Degree Program near Scottsdale AZ
Choosing the best nursing college near Scottsdale AZ may seem like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is local to your house is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are various key additional considerations to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are offered along with what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Scottsdale AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees available to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Scottsdale Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually 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 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 usually a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component 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 option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend school for some Scottsdale AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Scottsdale AZ or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- 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 organization. Besides helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to 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 imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Scottsdale AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 complete 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Scottsdale 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 get 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Scottsdale AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Scottsdale AZ Nursing School
Deciding on the ideal nursing program is potentially the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are various factors that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using 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 Scottsdale AZ.