How to Choose the Best Nursing College near Scottsdale AZ
Locating the best nursing program near Scottsdale AZ may seem like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many future students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your home is probably not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many essential additional aspects to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree choices that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Scottsdale AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options 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 as little as two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Scottsdale Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 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 utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally 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 may 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 usually a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more in demand way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for some Scottsdale AZ students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. 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. Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Why Choose the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an important part of a Scottsdale AZ medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, among the most notable are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly choose the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the health profession, rather than the analytical or research related elements, is appealing to many who elect to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While most nurses deliver personal patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Scottsdale AZ or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain 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 delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Scottsdale 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 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 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 contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Scottsdale AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Scottsdale AZ RN Program
Enrolling in the right nursing school is potentially the most critical first step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of aspects that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is critical that you select a nursing college 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 shortlist 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.