How to Select the Best RN College Online in El Mirage Arizona
Locating the right nursing school near El Mirage AZ may seem like a formidable project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is local to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are various essential additional factors to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
It Takes Just a Minute to Start Your Nursing Career in Arizona!
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including El Mirage AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the functions 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 more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees offered 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 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the El Mirage AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has received 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 can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific 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 answer to finding the free time to attend college for many El Mirage AZ students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near El Mirage AZ or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first 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 decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.
- 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. Besides helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in El Mirage AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied 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 El Mirage AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain 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. Check if the schools have a working relationship with El Mirage AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Best El Mirage Nursing Program
Deciding on the ideal nursing program is arguably the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are various aspects that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed within this post, it is important that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in El Mirage Arizona.