How to Choose the Best Nursing Degree Program Online in Goodyear Arizona
Finding the right nursing program near Goodyear AZ may feel like a formidable project, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the distance 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 decide on a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional considerations to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
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Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Goodyear AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to assist doctors in the care 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 duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally 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.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from 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 advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Goodyear 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 subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 commonly a 2 year program after attaining 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 earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some Goodyear AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask RN Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Goodyear AZ or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Goodyear 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. 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 comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Goodyear 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 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Goodyear AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Goodyear AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Goodyear Nursing School
Enrolling in the ideal nursing degree program is arguably the most critical first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are various aspects that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is critical that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Goodyear Arizona.