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How to Pick the Right RN School near Litchfield Park Arizona

Litchfield Park Arizona Nurse examining patient with stethoscopeLocating the best nursing college near Litchfield Park AZ may seem like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are various important additional factors to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Litchfield Park Arizona RN reading vital signs of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Litchfield Park AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing 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), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing School Degrees

There are several degree options offered 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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Litchfield Park AZ area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use 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 in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to advance 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 commonly 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, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Classes

Litchfield Park Arizona Nurse holding medical fileAttending nursing colleges online is becoming a more popular way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend classes for many Litchfield Park AZ students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous 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 household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe 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 integral component of a Litchfield Park AZ medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to many opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, among the most notable are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often choose the profession due to a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related elements, is attractive to many who choose to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work environments, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses deliver primary patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Courses

Nurse interacting with Litchfield Park Arizona nursing home patientOnce you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Litchfield Park AZ or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.

  • 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 receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Litchfield Park AZ area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding 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 evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Litchfield Park 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 programs you are looking at 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 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Litchfield Park AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Litchfield Park AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Find Out More About Online Nursing Training in Litchfield Park

Choose the Right Arizona RN College

Deciding on the ideal nursing school is perhaps the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous variables that you need to think about when selecting a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care 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 final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Litchfield Park Arizona.


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