How to Choose the Best RN Program Online in Prescott Arizona
Finding the best nursing school near Prescott AZ may feel like a challenging project, especially 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 must obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are various important additional considerations to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
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Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Prescott AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option 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 obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Prescott AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps 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 higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically 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 desire 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 commonly a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate 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) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for some Prescott AZ students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Prescott AZ or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.
- 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 organization. Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Prescott AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary 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. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit 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. Additionally, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Prescott 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 programs you are looking at 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 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 favorable reputation within the Prescott AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Prescott AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Prescott Nursing School
Choosing the right nursing degree program is perhaps the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are numerous aspects that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Prescott Arizona.