How to Find the Right RN Course near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Locating the right nursing school near Catalina Foothills AZ may seem like a complex endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is local to your residence is probably not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are many important additional considerations to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
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RN Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Catalina Foothills AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, 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 Degrees Available
There are several degree options 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 earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Catalina Foothills AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies 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 previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained 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 can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Colleges
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend classes for many Catalina Foothills AZ students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Catalina Foothills AZ or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see 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 organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Catalina Foothills 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Catalina Foothills 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 programs 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Catalina Foothills AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Catalina Foothills AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Catalina Foothills Nursing Degree Program
Picking the right nursing school is perhaps the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are various aspects that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this article, it is essential that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Catalina Foothills Arizona.