How to Enroll In the Best Nursing Degree Program near Casa Grande Arizona
Locating the right nursing college near Casa Grande AZ may feel like a complex endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are various crucial additional aspects to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
It Takes Just a Minute to Start Your Nursing Career in Arizona!
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Casa Grande AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options available 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 as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available 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 position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 two year program after achieving 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 obtained 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. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed 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 time to attend classes for many Casa Grande AZ students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask RN Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Casa Grande AZ or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Casa Grande AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some 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 provides an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Casa Grande AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Casa Grande AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Casa Grande AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Casa Grande Nursing Program
Picking the ideal nursing degree program is arguably the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous variables that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Casa Grande Arizona.