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How to Choose an Accredited RN College near Florence Arizona

Florence Arizona RN examining patient with stethoscopeSelecting the right nursing program near Florence AZ may seem like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper 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 thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is closest to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of important additional things to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are available along with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Florence Arizona nurse taking blodd pressure of senior woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Florence AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Keeping health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level 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 deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Florence AZ area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 normally a two year program after acquiring 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, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Programs

Florence Arizona RN holding health chartAttending nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend classes for some Florence AZ students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an important part of a Florence AZ medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, the most significant are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently go into the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the health profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who decide to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work settings, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses provide direct patient care, others elect to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Programs

RN interacting with Florence Arizona assisted living patientNow that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Florence AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout 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 workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, 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 agency. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Florence 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Florence 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 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Florence AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Florence AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Degree Programs in Florence

Enroll in the Best Arizona RN School

Deciding on the ideal nursing degree program is probably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of aspects that you must take into account when choosing a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Florence Arizona.


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