How to Choose the Best Nursing School near Anthem Arizona
Finding the best nursing school near Anthem AZ may feel like a complex project, especially if you don't know 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 proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly program or the one that is local to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are several essential additional aspects to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Anthem AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing 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), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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 Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Anthem AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus 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) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are essentially two academic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest period of time, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it needs to be Arizona approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at Anthem AZ area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend college for some Anthem AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Anthem AZ or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.
- 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 agency. Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Anthem AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ 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. Certain states require a specific 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 exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Anthem 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 schools 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 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 Anthem AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Anthem AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Right Anthem Nursing School
Choosing the ideal registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various aspects that you should think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Anthem AZ.