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How to Choose the Best Nursing Course near Show Low Arizona

Show Low Arizona RN checking man with stethoscopeSearching for the right nursing school near Show Low AZ may feel like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to 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 college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence is no doubt not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional factors to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are available as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Show Low Arizona RN reading vital signs of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Show Low AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

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

Nursing School Degrees

There are several degree options offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Show Low AZ area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 typically a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Degrees

Show Low Arizona Nurse holding medical chartAttending nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified 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 practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for many Show Low AZ students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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. Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an indispensable part of a Show Low AZ medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently go into the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This human side of the health profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related aspects, is attractive to many who choose to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work environments, including nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses provide primary patient care, others elect to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Courses

Nurse reading with Show Low Arizona nursing home patientNow that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Show Low AZ or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things 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 evaluate how your pick compares 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Show Low AZ area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some 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 delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Show Low 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 schools you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Show Low AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Show Low AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Degree Programs in Show Low

Choose the Right Arizona RN Program

Selecting the right nursing degree program is potentially the most crucial step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are various variables that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Show Low Arizona.


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