How to Find the Right RN Degree Program Online in Prescott Arizona
Choosing the right nursing college near Prescott AZ may seem like a formidable project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly college or the one that is local to your residence is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are many key additional things to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
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RN Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest 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 general job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically 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 multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Prescott AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides 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 prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 usually a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides 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) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Courses
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend classes for many Prescott AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many 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 household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask RN Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Prescott AZ or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see 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 organization. Besides helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Prescott AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in 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 online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine 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 judgments 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 finish 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 verify 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 employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Prescott AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Prescott Nursing College
Picking the right nursing degree program is probably the most important step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous factors that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose 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.