How to Enroll In the Best Nursing School near Peoria Arizona
Selecting the right nursing program near Peoria AZ may seem like a complex project, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional aspects to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
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Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Peoria AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically 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 to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Peoria AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive 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 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 generally 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.
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) 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.
Online Nursing Courses
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for some Peoria AZ students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more 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 work and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask RN Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Peoria AZ or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.
- 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 ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Peoria AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ 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. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Peoria 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 schools you are considering 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Peoria AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Peoria AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Best Peoria Nursing School
Selecting the right nursing program is potentially the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of factors that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed in this post, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Peoria Arizona.