How to Enroll In the Right Nursing Program near Prescott Arizona
Finding the best nursing school near Prescott AZ may seem like a formidable project, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is local to your residence is no doubt not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are several essential additional things to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
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Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Prescott AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Prescott AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 employment market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more favored way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some Prescott AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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 work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Prescott AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Prescott AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain 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 an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 colleges 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential 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 AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified 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 AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Prescott Nursing College
Picking the right nursing school is arguably the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous variables that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this post, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing 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 ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Prescott Arizona.