How to Find the Right Nursing Training Program Online in El Mirage Arizona
Selecting the best nursing program near El Mirage AZ may feel like a complex undertaking, especially if you don't know 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 in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly college or the one that is local to your home is probably not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are several essential additional things to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.
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RN Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including El Mirage AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order 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 advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the El Mirage AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a two 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, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Colleges
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many El Mirage AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask RN Training Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near El Mirage AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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 receive a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in El Mirage AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy 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 looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to find out 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 opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the El Mirage AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with El Mirage AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best El Mirage Nursing Program
Picking the ideal nursing school is arguably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are many aspects that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is essential that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in El Mirage Arizona.