How to Pick the Right Nursing College near Buckeye Arizona
Locating the right nursing program near Buckeye AZ may feel like a challenging endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate 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 thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are various essential additional considerations to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Buckeye AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option to choose from 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 acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Buckeye AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually 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 might 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 typically a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are basically two academic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, 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 guarantees that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most 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 training can be acquired at Buckeye AZ area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction directed and every state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend classes for many Buckeye AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. 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 little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Buckeye AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt 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 select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Buckeye 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, 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 prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Buckeye 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 considering 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Buckeye AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Buckeye AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Best Buckeye Nursing Program
Selecting the right registered nursing program is potentially the most important first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of factors that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you pick an RN school 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 shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Buckeye AZ.