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How to Pick an Accredited RN Course near Cottonwood Arizona

Cottonwood Arizona RN checking man with stethoscopeChoosing the right nursing school near Cottonwood AZ may feel like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various important additional considerations to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are available as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Cottonwood Arizona RN taking blodd pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Cottonwood AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly 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 School Degrees

There are several degree options to choose from to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Cottonwood AZ area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps 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 ultimately earn a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 usually a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

When 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 vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Degrees

Cottonwood Arizona RN holding medical fileAttending nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for many Cottonwood AZ students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an indispensable part of a Cottonwood AZ medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, among the most notable are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the healthcare profession, rather than the analytical or research related facets, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work environments, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses deliver personal patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Nurse reading with Cottonwood Arizona assisted living patientOnce you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Cottonwood AZ or online, you can use the following checklist 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 in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.

  • 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. Besides helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Cottonwood AZ area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) along 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 imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Cottonwood 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 colleges you are looking at 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Cottonwood AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Cottonwood AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Schools in Cottonwood

Enroll in the Right Arizona RN School

Deciding on the right nursing college is perhaps the most important step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous factors that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Cottonwood Arizona.


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