How to Choose the Best RN School near Gilbert Arizona
Selecting the best nursing college near Gilbert AZ may feel like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination entirely 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 no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional considerations to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
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RN Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Gilbert AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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 Degree Options
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And in order 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 advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available 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 prepares 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 later obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 usually a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received 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. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many Gilbert AZ students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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 household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Gilbert AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available 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) as well as 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 important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all 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 check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Gilbert 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Gilbert AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Gilbert AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right Gilbert Nursing College
Deciding on the ideal nursing degree program is arguably the most critical first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Gilbert Arizona.