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Nursing School Degree Programs Surprise Arizona

How to Pick the Best RN Course near Surprise AZ

Surprise AZ RN with Doctor and PatientSelecting the right nursing program near Surprise AZ may seem like a complicated project, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various important additional considerations to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are offered as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Surprise AZ Nurse taking vital signs of patient

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Surprise AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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

Surprise Arizona Nurse assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees to choose from 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 receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Surprise 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 job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize 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 typically a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 generally a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers 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. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Degrees

Surprise Arizona student attending RN school onlineAttending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend school for some Surprise AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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. Therefore if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

What to Ask Nursing Schools

Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Surprise AZ or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.

  • 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. Aside from helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some 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 enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 programs 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Surprise AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Surprise AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Right Surprise AZ Nursing School

Choosing the right nursing program is potentially the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various variables that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Surprise AZ.