How to Pick the Right Nursing Degree Program near Casa Grande Arizona
Finding the right nursing school near Casa Grande AZ may feel like a difficult project, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence is no doubt not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are many crucial additional things to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
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RN Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Casa Grande AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing 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 example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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 multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse. And 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 attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Casa Grande AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered 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 utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 usually a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number 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 solution to finding the free time to attend college for many Casa Grande AZ students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. 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 work and household commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask RN Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Casa Grande 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 within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.
- 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 confirm that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Casa Grande AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different 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. Certain 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 preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Casa Grande 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 schools 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 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 Casa Grande AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Casa Grande AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right Casa Grande Nursing School
Selecting the right nursing degree program is potentially the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are various factors that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic 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 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 desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Casa Grande Arizona.