How to Pick the Best Nursing Training Program near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Locating the right nursing program near Catalina Foothills AZ may feel like a difficult endeavor, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your home is probably not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several key additional factors to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.
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RN Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Catalina Foothills AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact 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
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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.
Nursing Degree Options
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 enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain 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 summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Catalina Foothills AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 commonly a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has acquired 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. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more popular way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for many Catalina Foothills AZ students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous 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 very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask RN Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as if 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 undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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 organization. In addition to helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Catalina Foothills AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify 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 attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Catalina Foothills AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Catalina Foothills Nursing Degree Program
Enrolling in the ideal nursing school is arguably the most crucial step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of aspects that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using 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 final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Catalina Foothills Arizona.