How to Enroll In the Right Nursing Program near Scottsdale AZ
Finding the right nursing school near Scottsdale AZ may feel like a complex undertaking, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is closest to your house is most likely not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are many key additional factors to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree choices that are offered together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Scottsdale AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees 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 advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries 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 two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 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 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more favored way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend school for many Scottsdale AZ students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional 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. So if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Scottsdale AZ or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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. Besides helping ensure that you obtain 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 requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to determine 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential 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 healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Scottsdale AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Scottsdale AZ Nursing Program
Choosing the ideal nursing degree program is perhaps the most critical first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are many variables that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is essential that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Scottsdale AZ.