How to Choose an Accredited Nursing Degree Program near Chino Valley Arizona
Selecting the best nursing program near Chino Valley AZ may seem like a complicated project, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are several essential additional things to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Chino Valley AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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 College Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option offered 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 earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Chino Valley AZ area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It readies 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 ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish to advance 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 typically a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for some Chino Valley AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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. Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Why Choose the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an indispensable component of a Chino Valley AZ medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, among the most significant are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently choose the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This human aspect of the health profession, rather than the analytical or research related aspects, is attractive to many who choose to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a variety of work settings, including nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses provide personal patient care, others elect to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Chino Valley AZ or online, you can use the following guidelines to start 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 select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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. Besides helping make sure that you get a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools. Also, many Chino Valley AZ area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Chino Valley 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 schools 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 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 Chino Valley AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Chino Valley AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Arizona RN Program
Selecting the right nursing degree program is arguably the most crucial step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Chino Valley Arizona.