How to Select the Best RN Degree Program near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Selecting the right nursing program near Catalina Foothills AZ may seem like a challenging undertaking, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various essential additional factors to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
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Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Catalina Foothills AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
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 obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Catalina Foothills AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 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 generally a two year program after obtaining 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 earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) 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 Courses
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for some Catalina Foothills AZ students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask RN Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Catalina Foothills AZ or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly 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 to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often 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. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Catalina Foothills AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Catalina Foothills AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right Catalina Foothills Nursing College
Deciding on the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is important that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Catalina Foothills Arizona.