How to Find an Accredited Nursing Course near Tempe AZ
Choosing the right nursing program near Tempe AZ may feel like a challenging endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional things to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree options that are available along with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Tempe AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of 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 generally 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 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 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered 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 centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth 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 prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 typically a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When 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. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some Tempe AZ students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can 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 job and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Tempe AZ or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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. Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain 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 exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Tempe 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 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 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 ideal 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 mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Tempe AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Tempe AZ Nursing School
Enrolling in the right nursing degree program is potentially the most critical phase to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous factors that you should think about when deciding on a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Tempe AZ.