How to Choose the Best Nursing Training Program near Peoria Arizona
Choosing the right nursing school near Peoria AZ may seem like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are several important additional factors to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree options that are offered.
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RN Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Peoria AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty 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 along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees to choose from 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 2 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 available in the Peoria AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example 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 vary from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for many Peoria AZ students. Pertaining to 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 reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Peoria AZ or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Peoria 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. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 colleges 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 dissatisfied 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 Peoria AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships 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 environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Peoria AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right Peoria Nursing College
Picking the ideal nursing school is perhaps the most crucial step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list 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 practicing nurse in Peoria Arizona.