How to Find the Best RN Course near Phoenix Arizona
Finding the right nursing program near Phoenix AZ may seem like a formidable project, especially 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 must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly program or the one that is closest to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are various key additional considerations to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
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Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Phoenix AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Phoenix AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly 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 progress 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 2 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.
When a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for some Phoenix AZ students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Phoenix AZ or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Phoenix AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies 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 contact some Phoenix AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 unhappy 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 good reputation within the Phoenix AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Phoenix Nursing Degree Program
Picking the right nursing degree program is perhaps the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous factors that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed in this article, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Phoenix Arizona.