How to Enroll In the Best RN Program Online in Apache Junction Arizona
Finding the right nursing program near Apache Junction AZ may feel like a complex endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is local to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of important additional things to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
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RN Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Apache Junction AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically 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 are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Apache Junction AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 employment market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus 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. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend classes for many Apache Junction AZ students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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 family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask RN Training Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Apache Junction AZ or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick 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. Aside from helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Apache Junction AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ 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. Certain states require a certain 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 delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services 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 determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Apache Junction 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Apache Junction AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Apache Junction AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Apache Junction Nursing College
Choosing the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most important phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are numerous variables that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Apache Junction Arizona.