How to Find the Right RN Training Program Online in Mesa Arizona
Searching for the best nursing program near Mesa AZ may feel like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is local to your house is most likely not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are many important additional considerations to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
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Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Mesa AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Mesa AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to advance 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 two 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.
After a graduating student has obtained 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. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend college for some Mesa AZ students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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. Therefore if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask RN Colleges
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Mesa AZ or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, 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. In addition to helping verify that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Mesa AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Mesa 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 programs you are considering 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 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 Mesa AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Mesa AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Best Mesa Nursing School
Deciding on the ideal nursing degree program is perhaps the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are various factors that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Mesa Arizona.