How to Choose the Right Nursing School Online in Casa Grande Arizona
Choosing the best nursing program near Casa Grande AZ may feel like a complex project, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are various crucial additional aspects to check out before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree options that are offered.
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Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Casa Grande AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to aid doctors in the care 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 responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Casa Grande AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four 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 progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after receiving 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 earned 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. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for many Casa Grande AZ students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous 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 family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask RN Schools
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, along with if 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 options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Casa Grande 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 important that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each 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 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 programs 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Casa Grande AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire 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 prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Casa Grande AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right Casa Grande Nursing School
Picking the right nursing college is arguably the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are many factors that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Casa Grande Arizona.