How to Select the Right RN College Online in Chandler Arizona
Finding the right nursing program near Chandler AZ may seem like a formidable undertaking, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are several essential additional things to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
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RN Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Chandler AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing 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), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Offered
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 obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Chandler AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 normally a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When 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 change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend school for many Chandler AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional 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. So if your work and household obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask RN Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Chandler AZ or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final 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. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Chandler AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all 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 Chandler 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Chandler AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Chandler AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Chandler Nursing Degree Program
Choosing the ideal nursing college is probably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is important that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Chandler Arizona.