How to Enroll In the Best Nursing School near Tempe AZ
Searching for the best nursing program near Tempe AZ may seem like a complex undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are several crucial additional factors to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are available together with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Tempe AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to help 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 portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing 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 typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option 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 as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Tempe Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two 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 employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 generally a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus 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) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain 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 conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some Tempe AZ students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of 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 family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Tempe AZ or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, 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 satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Tempe 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 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 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Tempe AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Tempe AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Tempe AZ RN Program
Enrolling in the ideal nursing program is potentially the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of factors that you must think about when deciding on a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Tempe AZ.