How to Choose the Best Nursing Program Online in Prescott Arizona
Locating the best nursing program near Prescott AZ may seem like a difficult endeavor, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are several key additional things to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
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Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Prescott AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Prescott AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive 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 previous 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 typically a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more favored way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending 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 can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for some Prescott AZ students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental 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. And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited 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 hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask RN Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Prescott AZ or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. 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 pick compares to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Prescott AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations 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 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 programs 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Prescott AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost 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 AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Prescott Nursing Degree Program
Enrolling in the ideal nursing school is probably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous variables that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this post, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical 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 ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Prescott Arizona.