How to Select the Right RN Training Program near Sun City AZ
Choosing the best nursing school near Sun City AZ may seem like a challenging endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are various crucial additional things to explore before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Sun City AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the functions 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
- Keeping 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 often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options 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 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 Sun City Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 advance 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 typically a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After 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. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend college for some Sun City AZ students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Sun City AZ or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
- 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 organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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 delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out 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 opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Sun City AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Sun City AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Sun City AZ RN Program
Selecting the ideal nursing degree program is potentially the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are various variables that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Sun City AZ.