How to Find the Right RN School Online in Apache Junction Arizona
Searching for the right nursing program near Apache Junction AZ may seem like a complicated project, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are several essential additional things to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
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Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Apache Junction AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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.
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Apache Junction AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four 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 desire to advance 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 attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Colleges
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more favored way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend college for some Apache Junction AZ students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask RN Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Apache Junction AZ or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, 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 so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school along with the price 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 sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares 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 agency. Besides helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Apache Junction AZ 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 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 outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 considering 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Apache Junction AZ medical 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. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Apache Junction AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Apache Junction Nursing Degree Program
Deciding on the right nursing degree program is perhaps the most critical phase to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are many factors that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this post, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding 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 select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Apache Junction Arizona.