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Nursing School Degree Programs Surprise Arizona

How to Find the Right Nursing Training Program near Surprise AZ

Surprise AZ Nurse with Physician and PatientLocating the best nursing college near Surprise AZ may feel like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your residence is no doubt not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are various essential additional things to check out before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are available together with what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Surprise AZ RN taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Surprise AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Surprise Arizona Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option available 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 obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Surprise Arizona area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including 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) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 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 wish to progress 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 generally a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has obtained 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. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Schools

Surprise AZ woman attending RN college onlineEnrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component 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 practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some Surprise AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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. So if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

What to Ask Nursing Colleges

Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Surprise AZ or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. 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 manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see 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 verify that you receive a premium education, it may assist 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 vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares 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 organizations for their reviews too. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Surprise 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 looking at 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Surprise AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Surprise AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Surprise AZ RN School

Surprise Arizona RN holding medical chartChoosing the right nursing school is potentially the most critical first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are many factors that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is important that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community.  By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Surprise AZ.