How to Choose an Accredited Nursing College near El Mirage Arizona
Selecting the best nursing program near El Mirage AZ may feel like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is closest to your house is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are several key additional considerations to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are offered along with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely El Mirage AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function 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 as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of 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 commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver 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 to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the El Mirage AZ area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at 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 might want to progress 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 normally a two year program after receiving 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 earned 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. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for many El Mirage AZ students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. 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 job and family commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Why Choose the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an essential component of a El Mirage AZ medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, among the most meaningful are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly choose 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 ailments. This humanistic aspect of the health profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related elements, is appealing to many who decide to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work settings, such as home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses provide direct patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near El Mirage AZ or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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. In addition to helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many El Mirage 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) along with 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 an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some El Mirage 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 colleges 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 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the El Mirage AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with El Mirage AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Arizona RN Program
Deciding on the right nursing college is perhaps the most important first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are many factors that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this article, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select 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 El Mirage Arizona.