How to Choose the Best RN Degree Program near Sun City AZ
Locating the right nursing college near Sun City AZ may seem like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is local to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are various key additional aspects to investigate before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree options that are available together with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Sun City AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing 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 advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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 Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from 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 as little as two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Sun City Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend school for some Sun City AZ students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more 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 job and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Nursing?Nurses are an integral part of a Sun City AZ medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently go into the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the health profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related aspects, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While most nurses deliver direct patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Sun City AZ or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 organization. Aside from helping verify that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, 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 meet the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Sun City 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Sun City AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. 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 too. Check if the schools have associations with Sun City AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Sun City AZ Nursing School
Deciding on the right nursing school is arguably the most critical step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many variables that you need to think about when choosing a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed in this article, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care 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 right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Sun City AZ.