How to Enroll In the Best Nursing Program near Fountain Hills Arizona
Selecting the right nursing school near Fountain Hills AZ may feel like a complex endeavor, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional factors to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Fountain Hills AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining 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 typically 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
There is more than one degree option to choose from 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 acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Fountain Hills AZ area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize 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 comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 generally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus 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 fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some Fountain Hills AZ students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily 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 job and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Why Enter the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an important component of a Fountain Hills AZ medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, the most significant are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly go into the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the health profession, rather than the research or analytical related aspects, is appealing to many who elect to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work settings, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses deliver personal patient care, others elect to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Fountain Hills AZ or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. 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 compares 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. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Fountain Hills AZ area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Fountain Hills 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Fountain Hills AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Fountain Hills AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Arizona RN Program
Choosing the right nursing degree program is potentially the most critical step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are various aspects that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist 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 drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Fountain Hills Arizona.