How to Pick the Best Nursing College Online in Queen Creek Arizona
Searching for the best nursing school near Queen Creek AZ may seem like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly college or the one that is closest to your house is probably not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are many crucial additional factors to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
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Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Queen Creek AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating 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 advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Offered
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 two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Queen Creek AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth 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 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 generally a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Courses
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for some Queen Creek AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Queen Creek AZ or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Queen Creek 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 needed 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 an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Queen Creek 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 dissatisfied 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 Queen Creek AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Queen Creek AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Queen Creek Nursing School
Choosing the right nursing program is perhaps the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous variables that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Queen Creek Arizona.