How to Find the Best Nursing Degree Program near Anthem Arizona
Selecting the best nursing college near Anthem AZ may seem like a formidable project, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive college or the one that is local to your residence is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are several crucial additional factors to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Anthem AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the duties 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 more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally 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 Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Anthem AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 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 may want to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained 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. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are basically two scholastic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, normally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Arizona approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Anthem AZ area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training required and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend school for many Anthem AZ students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Anthem AZ or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate 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 organization. Besides helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Anthem AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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 specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Anthem 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 programs 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Anthem AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal 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 as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Anthem AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Right Anthem Nursing College
Choosing the ideal registered nursing school is perhaps the most critical first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are a number of variables that you should think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Anthem AZ.