How to Choose an Accredited RN Program near Sierra Vista AZ
Searching for the best nursing program near Sierra Vista AZ may feel like a formidable project, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are various crucial additional aspects to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Sierra Vista AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced 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.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options 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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations 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 commonly a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive 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 prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish to progress 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 commonly a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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 vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed 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 free time to attend classes for some Sierra Vista AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. 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. Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Why Enter the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an important part of a Sierra Vista AZ medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, among the most notable are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently go into the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This human aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related elements, is appealing to many who elect to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work environments, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses deliver direct patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Sierra Vista AZ or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in securing 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain 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 attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with 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 assessments 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 finish 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 Sierra Vista AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship 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 RN School
Choosing the right nursing college is perhaps the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many variables that you must think about when selecting a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Sierra Vista AZ.