How to Choose the Best Nursing Program Online in Prescott Arizona
Selecting the best nursing school near Prescott AZ may feel like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order 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 final choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is local to your residence is no doubt not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are many important additional aspects to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
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Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Prescott AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 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 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as 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) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 usually a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate 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. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Prescott AZ students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many 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 responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward 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 RN Degree Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Prescott AZ or on the internet, you can use the following pointers 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 in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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 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 important that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Prescott AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Prescott AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right Prescott Nursing School
Selecting the ideal nursing program is potentially the most important phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various aspects that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Prescott Arizona.