How to Pick the Right Nursing Degree Program Online in Buckeye Arizona
Locating the right nursing school near Buckeye AZ may seem like a formidable endeavor, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional things to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
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Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Buckeye AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping 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 commonly 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 available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Buckeye AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 usually a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate 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) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for some Buckeye AZ students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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 job and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask RN Schools
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Buckeye AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin 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 important to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Buckeye 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) along with 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 attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. 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 contact some Buckeye 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 considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy 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 superb reputation within the Buckeye AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain 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 mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Buckeye AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Best Buckeye Nursing Program
Picking the ideal nursing program is potentially the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Buckeye Arizona.