How to Select the Best Nursing Degree Program Online in Peoria Arizona
Selecting the best nursing school near Peoria AZ may feel like a formidable project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many future students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are several crucial additional things to investigate before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.
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RN Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Peoria AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees offered 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 as little as two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Peoria AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 typically a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides 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, 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 be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain 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 certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Peoria AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, 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. And so if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask RN Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Peoria AZ or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection 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. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Peoria AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out 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 opinions 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 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 medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Peoria AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Peoria Nursing College
Selecting the right nursing school is perhaps the most crucial step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you should think about when picking 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 content, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Peoria Arizona.