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How to Select the Best RN College near Cave Creek Arizona

Cave Creek Arizona Nurse examining patient with stethoscopeSearching for the best nursing program near Cave Creek AZ may seem like a formidable endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are many crucial additional considerations to investigate before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Cave Creek Arizona RN taking vital signs of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Cave Creek AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing 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 complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically 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 School Degree Options

There are multiple degrees available to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Cave Creek AZ area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at 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 might desire to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a two year program after obtaining 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 attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Classes

Cave Creek Arizona Nurse holding health fileAttending nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend classes for many Cave Creek AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an integral component of a Cave Creek AZ medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to many opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, among the most significant are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly go into the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the health profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related elements, is attractive to many who decide to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work settings, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses deliver direct patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Schools

RN reading with Cave Creek Arizona nursing home patientNow that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Cave Creek AZ or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Cave Creek AZ area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Cave Creek AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Cave Creek AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Cave Creek AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Schools in Cave Creek

Enroll in the Right Arizona RN College

Deciding on the right nursing college is arguably the most important step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you must consider when choosing a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Cave Creek Arizona.


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