How to Enroll In the Right RN Program Online in Apache Junction Arizona
Finding the best nursing program near Apache Junction AZ may seem like a complex endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various crucial additional things to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
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RN Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Apache Junction AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating 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), for 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn 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 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 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 might desire to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more favored way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend classes for many Apache Junction AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, 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 undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with 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 important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 looking at 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Apache Junction AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Apache Junction AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right Apache Junction Nursing Program
Picking the ideal nursing degree program is potentially the most critical step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are many variables that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this post, it is critical that you choose a nursing college 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 produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Apache Junction Arizona.