How to Select the Right RN School near Flagstaff Arizona
Choosing the right nursing program near Flagstaff AZ may seem like a challenging 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 must acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional factors to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
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RN Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Flagstaff AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options 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 two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Flagstaff AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four 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 may 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 commonly a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained 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. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for some Flagstaff AZ students. Regarding tuition, a number of 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 economical. 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. Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask RN Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Flagstaff AZ or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Flagstaff 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, 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 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 considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Flagstaff 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased 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 favorable reputation within the Flagstaff AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Flagstaff AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Best Flagstaff Nursing Degree Program
Deciding on the ideal nursing college is probably the most important first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various variables that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Flagstaff Arizona.