How to Choose the Best Nursing School Online in Maricopa Arizona
Locating the right nursing school near Maricopa AZ may seem like a challenging undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are many essential additional aspects to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
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RN Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including Maricopa AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing 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 provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Maricopa AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire 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 typically a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received 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. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Courses
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. 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 many Maricopa AZ students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Training Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Maricopa AZ or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Maricopa AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different 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. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Maricopa 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 displeased 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 Maricopa AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Maricopa AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right Maricopa Nursing School
Choosing the right nursing program is perhaps the most important phase to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are many variables that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is essential that you pick a nursing college 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 create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Maricopa Arizona.