How to Choose the Right Nursing College near Chandler Arizona
Selecting the best nursing school near Chandler AZ may feel like a complicated project, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is local to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are many important additional things to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
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Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Chandler AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing 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 higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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.
There are several degree options 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 acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Chandler AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for many Chandler AZ students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family obligations have left you with limited 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 Nursing Training Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Chandler AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will consider. 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 selection compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Chandler AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares 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 assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Chandler AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 dissatisfied 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 superb reputation within the Chandler AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Chandler AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Best Chandler Nursing Program
Picking the right nursing program is potentially the most critical step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is essential that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Chandler Arizona.