How to Select the Right RN School Online in Flagstaff Arizona
Finding the right nursing program near Flagstaff AZ may seem like a complicated project, particularly if you have no idea 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 appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are several crucial additional considerations to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
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Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Flagstaff AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to help 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 as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
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 earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Flagstaff AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually 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 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 two year program after acquiring 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 attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Courses
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for some Flagstaff AZ students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. 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. And so if your work and household obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Flagstaff AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 agency. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Flagstaff AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, 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 Flagstaff AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Flagstaff AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Flagstaff AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Flagstaff Nursing Degree Program
Deciding on the right nursing degree program is perhaps the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are many factors that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this content, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Flagstaff Arizona.