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How to Pick an Accredited RN Degree Program near Fountain Hills Arizona

Fountain Hills Arizona Nurse checking patient with stethoscopeSearching for the right nursing program near Fountain Hills AZ may seem like a difficult project, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your home is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of key additional things to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are offered along with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Fountain Hills Arizona RN reading blodd pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Fountain Hills AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a higher 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 deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degrees

There are multiple degrees offered 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 as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions 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 typically a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 usually a two year program after obtaining 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 attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Schools

Fountain Hills Arizona Nurse holding health chartEnrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many Fountain Hills AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an indispensable part of a Fountain Hills AZ medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, the most notable are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently go into the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This human side of the healthcare profession, rather than the analytical or research related elements, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a variety of work environments, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses deliver direct patient care, others opt to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Schools

Nurse reading with Fountain Hills Arizona assisted living patientOnce you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Fountain Hills AZ or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.

  • 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered 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 differ 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. Many states require a specific 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 provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out 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 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Fountain Hills AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Fountain Hills AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Schools in Fountain Hills

Choose the Right Arizona RN Program

Selecting the right nursing program is perhaps the most crucial step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of variables that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Fountain Hills Arizona.


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