How to Choose the Best RN Program near Prescott Valley Arizona
Searching for the best nursing school near Prescott Valley AZ may feel like a challenging project, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are many crucial additional factors to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
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RN Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Prescott Valley AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level 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 several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Prescott Valley AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It prepares 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 subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 normally a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Courses
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more preferred way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend classes for many Prescott Valley AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Prescott Valley AZ or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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 make sure that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Prescott Valley AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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 certain number of clinical hours be performed, 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 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 looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Prescott Valley 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 looking at 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Prescott Valley AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- 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 as well. Check if the schools have associations with Prescott Valley AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Right Prescott Valley Nursing College
Picking the right nursing college is potentially the most critical first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are many variables that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Prescott Valley Arizona.