How to Choose the Best RN Degree Program near Tempe AZ
Locating the best nursing college near Tempe AZ may feel like a complex endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are various crucial additional considerations to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree options that are available along with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Tempe 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 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:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option 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 obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Tempe Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers 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 typically a 4 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 job market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance 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) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for many Tempe AZ students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional 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 responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Tempe AZ or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location 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 only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a quality 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 are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Tempe AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 complete 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Tempe AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Tempe AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Tempe AZ Nursing School
Deciding on the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous variables that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Tempe AZ.