How to Enroll In an Accredited RN Degree Program near Payson Arizona
Choosing the right nursing school near Payson AZ may feel like a difficult project, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional things to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Payson AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing 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), 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing College Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available to become a nurse. And in order 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 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Payson AZ area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 typically a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, she or he 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 get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Payson AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many 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 work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Why Choose Nursing as a Career?Nurses are an indispensable part of a Payson 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 healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, among the most meaningful are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often choose the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who elect to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a number of work settings, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses provide primary patient care, others elect to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Payson AZ or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools. Also, many Payson 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 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Payson AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 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 favorable reputation within the Payson AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Payson AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Arizona RN College
Picking the right nursing college is potentially the most crucial step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are many aspects that you should take into account when choosing a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Payson Arizona.