How to Find the Best RN Degree Program Online in Prescott Valley Arizona
Locating the best nursing college near Prescott Valley AZ may feel like a formidable endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are various essential additional factors to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
It Takes Just a Minute to Start Your Nursing Career in Arizona!
RN Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Prescott Valley AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally 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 Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from 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 as little as two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Prescott Valley AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually 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 might wish 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 normally a 2 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.
After a graduating student has obtained 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. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to obtain 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 number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for many Prescott Valley AZ students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. 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 obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask RN Training Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Prescott Valley AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often 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) together 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 imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, 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 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Prescott Valley AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Prescott Valley AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Prescott Valley Nursing Program
Choosing the right nursing school is arguably the most important phase to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are various aspects that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this content, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Prescott Valley Arizona.