How to Find the Right Nursing Degree Program Online in El Mirage Arizona
Selecting the best nursing school near El Mirage AZ may seem like a challenging endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many important additional aspects to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
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RN Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely El Mirage AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, 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 multiple degrees available 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 as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the El Mirage AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 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 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 typically a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained 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 fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for many El Mirage AZ students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask RN Degree Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near El Mirage AZ or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
- 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 organization. Aside from helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in El Mirage AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different 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. Certain states require a certain 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 delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some El Mirage 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 programs 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the El Mirage AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with El Mirage AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right El Mirage Nursing School
Enrolling in the ideal nursing school is arguably the most important first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of variables that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is essential that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in El Mirage Arizona.