How to Find the Best Nursing School near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Searching for the best nursing school near Lake Havasu City AZ may seem like a complex project, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is closest to your house is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are many important additional factors to investigate before you make a decision 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 alternatives that are offered.
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Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty 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 in addition to where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option 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 continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Lake Havasu City AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 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 may want 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 receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more popular way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for some Lake Havasu City AZ students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous 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 family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Lake Havasu City AZ or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Lake Havasu City 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain 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 a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. 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 contact some Lake Havasu City 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Lake Havasu City AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Lake Havasu City Nursing School
Picking the right nursing college is probably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are various variables that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is important that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Lake Havasu City Arizona.