How to Pick the Best RN School Online in Avondale Arizona
Choosing the right nursing program near Avondale AZ may feel like a difficult project, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is local to your residence is most likely not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are many important additional things to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
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Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Avondale AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire 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 short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Avondale AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available 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 employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 commonly a 2 year program after obtaining 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, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Colleges
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for some Avondale AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask RN Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Avondale AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Avondale AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific 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 provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Avondale 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 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 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 Avondale 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 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. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Avondale AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right Avondale Nursing College
Enrolling in the right nursing school is arguably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are various aspects that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Avondale Arizona.