How to Select the Best RN Program near Sierra Vista AZ
Finding the right nursing school near Sierra Vista AZ may seem like a difficult endeavor, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are several crucial additional factors to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are offered along with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Sierra Vista AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to assist doctors in the care 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 few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option 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 obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Sierra Vista Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically 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 normally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained 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. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many Sierra Vista AZ students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. 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 such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Sierra Vista AZ or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 agency. In addition to helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Sierra Vista 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 colleges 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Sierra Vista AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Sierra Vista AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Sierra Vista AZ Nursing Program
Picking the right nursing degree program is arguably the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are many factors that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Sierra Vista AZ.