How to Choose the Best Nursing Training Program Online in Phoenix Arizona
Searching for the right nursing program near Phoenix AZ may feel like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is local to your house is most likely not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are various essential additional considerations to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
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Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Phoenix AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating 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 complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options offered 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 two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Phoenix 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 healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a more advanced 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 able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend school for some Phoenix AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily 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. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Phoenix AZ or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Phoenix AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Phoenix 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased 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 superb reputation within the Phoenix AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Phoenix Nursing School
Enrolling in the right nursing program is arguably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of aspects that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this article, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Phoenix Arizona.