How to Pick the Best RN School near Apache Junction Arizona
Selecting the best nursing college near Apache Junction AZ may seem like a complicated project, particularly 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 need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your home is probably not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of key additional considerations to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
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RN Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Apache Junction AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing 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 responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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 are multiple degrees offered 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 achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Apache Junction AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally 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 might want 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 generally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned 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. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for many Apache Junction AZ students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many 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 family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Apache Junction AZ or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Apache Junction AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments 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 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 programs 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Apache Junction AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. 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. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Apache Junction AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Apache Junction Nursing College
Choosing the ideal nursing college is perhaps the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many factors that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Apache Junction Arizona.