How to Choose the Right Nursing Program near Apache Junction Arizona
Choosing the best nursing school near Apache Junction AZ may feel like a complex project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several essential additional factors to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
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RN Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Apache Junction AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex 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 administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive 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 brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Apache Junction AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 normally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend school for some Apache Junction AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of 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 household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Apache Junction AZ or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, 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 assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges 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 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 superb reputation within the Apache Junction AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Ask 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 Degree Program
Picking the ideal nursing school is potentially the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous aspects that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is essential that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Apache Junction Arizona.