How to Pick the Right Nursing Degree Program near Drexel Heights Arizona
Finding the right nursing college near Drexel Heights AZ may feel like a complex endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of key additional considerations to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Drexel Heights AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing 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 higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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 School Degrees Available
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 earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Drexel Heights 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 job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 job market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received 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. 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 requirements.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Drexel Heights AZ students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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 responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Nursing?Nurses are an integral component of a Drexel Heights AZ medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career 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 practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often 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 long-term care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the healthcare profession, as opposed to 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 an assortment of work environments, including home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While most nurses deliver primary patient care, others opt to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Courses
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Drexel Heights AZ or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school along with the cost 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 sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, 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 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 quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools. Also, many Drexel Heights AZ area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Drexel Heights 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 schools you are considering 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 superb reputation within the Drexel Heights AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Drexel Heights AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Arizona RN Program
Deciding on the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most critical phase to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are various variables that you need to consider when choosing a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Drexel Heights Arizona.