How to Pick the Best Nursing Degree Program near Yuma AZ
Locating the right nursing program near Yuma AZ may feel like a complex undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional aspects to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Yuma 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 along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing 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 advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 are several degree options offered 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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Yuma Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive 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 past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 2 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.
When a graduating student has earned 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. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend college for some Yuma AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Choose Nursing as a Career?Nurses are an integral component of a Yuma AZ medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly go into the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This human side of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related aspects, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work settings, including nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specializations, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses provide primary patient care, others opt to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Yuma AZ or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Yuma 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 schools you are looking at 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Yuma AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Yuma AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Yuma AZ Nursing Program
Selecting the right nursing program is probably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are various factors that you need to think about when picking a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Yuma AZ.