How to Enroll In the Right Nursing Degree Program Online in Mesa Arizona
Choosing the right nursing school near Mesa AZ may feel like a difficult undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of key additional considerations to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
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RN Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Mesa AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees to choose from 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 just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Mesa AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 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 achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many Mesa AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. 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. So if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask RN Schools
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Mesa AZ or online, you can use the following checklist to start 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 reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Mesa AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides 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. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Mesa AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Mesa AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Mesa AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Best Mesa Nursing Degree Program
Choosing the ideal nursing college is probably the most critical step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this article, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Mesa Arizona.