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How to Find the Right RN Degree Program near Prescott Arizona

Prescott Arizona RN checking man with stethoscopeSearching for the best nursing program near Prescott AZ may seem like a formidable endeavor, particularly 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 receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various key additional factors to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are offered as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Prescott 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, namely Prescott AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex 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 administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing School 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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Prescott AZ area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 normally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has earned 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. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Schools

Prescott Arizona Nurse holding medical chartAttending nursing programs online is becoming a more preferred way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance 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 rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many Prescott AZ students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an indispensable component of a Prescott AZ medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly go into the profession out of a desire to administer 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 healthcare profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related aspects, is attractive to many who decide to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work settings, such as 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, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses provide direct patient care, others opt to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Nurse reading with Prescott Arizona nursing home patientOnce you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Prescott AZ or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin 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 lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, 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 other schools.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes 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 requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified 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 excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, contact 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 judgments 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 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 AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Prescott AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Find Out More About Online Nursing Courses in Prescott

Enroll in the Right Arizona RN Program

Picking the ideal nursing program is probably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are various factors that you should consider when selecting a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing 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 proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Prescott Arizona.


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