How to Pick an Accredited RN College near Prescott Arizona
Selecting the right nursing school near Prescott AZ may seem like a formidable endeavor, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several important additional considerations to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our medical 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 Prescott AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help 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 functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally 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 School Degrees
There are several degree options available 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 just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Prescott AZ area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a four 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 might wish 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 normally a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired 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. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more favored way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many Prescott AZ students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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 work and household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Why Choose Nursing as a Career?Nurses are an integral part of a Prescott AZ medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, among the most meaningful are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession due to a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This human side of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related aspects, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a variety of work settings, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses deliver primary patient care, others choose to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Prescott AZ or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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 agency. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Prescott 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 certain 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 delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Prescott 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Prescott AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Prescott AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Arizona RN School
Choosing the ideal nursing college is arguably the most important step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of aspects that you should take into account when choosing a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Prescott Arizona.