How to Enroll In the Best Nursing College near Mesa Arizona
Selecting the right nursing school near Mesa AZ may feel like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of important additional things to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
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Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as Mesa AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Mesa AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 generally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides 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, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Mesa AZ students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like 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 work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask RN Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Mesa AZ or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the cost 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 sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Mesa AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to determine 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 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Mesa AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Mesa AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Right Mesa Nursing College
Selecting the right nursing degree program is probably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of variables that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using 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 ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Mesa Arizona.