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How to Select the Right RN School near Prescott Valley Arizona

Prescott Valley Arizona RN checking patient with stethoscopeSelecting the right nursing school near Prescott Valley AZ may feel like a challenging undertaking, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each program 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 distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of important additional things to look 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 as well as what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Prescott Valley Arizona nurse taking vital signs of senior female patient

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

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degree Options

There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Prescott Valley AZ area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps 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 afterwards achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After 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) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Programs

Prescott Valley Arizona Nurse holding medical chartAttending nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for many Prescott Valley AZ students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps 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 important part of a Prescott Valley AZ medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, the most meaningful are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession due to a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This human side of the medical profession, rather than the analytical or research related elements, is appealing to many who elect to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses provide direct patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Programs

RN reading with Prescott Valley Arizona nursing home patientOnce you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Prescott Valley AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Prescott Valley AZ area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, 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 comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Prescott Valley 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 considering 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Prescott Valley AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Prescott Valley AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Colleges in Prescott Valley

Choose the Best Arizona RN College

Deciding on the ideal nursing college is potentially the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various aspects that you should think about when deciding on a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Prescott Valley Arizona.


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