How to Select the Right RN College Online in Prescott Valley Arizona
Finding the right nursing program near Prescott Valley AZ may feel like a challenging endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are various essential additional aspects to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
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Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Prescott Valley AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary 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 area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Prescott Valley AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 generally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Colleges
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more in demand way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for many Prescott Valley AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Prescott Valley AZ or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered 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. Many states require a specific 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 provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out 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 judgments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools 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 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 good reputation within the Prescott Valley AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Prescott Valley AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Prescott Valley Nursing School
Selecting the ideal nursing program is probably the most critical step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous aspects that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is important that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist 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 dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Prescott Valley Arizona.