How to Find the Right RN Program near Gilbert Arizona
Choosing the right nursing college near Gilbert AZ may feel like a complicated endeavor, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are several crucial additional factors to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
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RN Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Gilbert AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced 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 provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain 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 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 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 normally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend school for many Gilbert AZ students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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 responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask RN Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Gilbert AZ or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate 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 agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Gilbert AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Gilbert 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 programs 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 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 substantiate 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 gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. 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 Gilbert AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Best Gilbert Nursing Program
Picking the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are various aspects that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is essential 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 checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Gilbert Arizona.