How to Find the Right Nursing Degree Program near Gilbert Arizona
Selecting the right nursing college near Gilbert AZ may seem like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several key additional considerations to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
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Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Gilbert AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically 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 Offered
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Gilbert AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It preps 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 later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained 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. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount 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 accommodating approach to finding the time to attend college for some Gilbert AZ students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. 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 job and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask RN Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Gilbert AZ or on the internet, you can use the following checklist 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 necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Gilbert AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Gilbert 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 schools 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 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 Gilbert AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Gilbert AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Best Gilbert Nursing School
Selecting the ideal nursing college is potentially the most critical phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is critical that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Gilbert Arizona.