How to Find the Right Nursing Degree Program near Bullhead City Arizona
Locating the right nursing program near Bullhead City AZ may seem like a complicated project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are several crucial additional factors to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Bullhead City AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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.
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 attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Bullhead City AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has earned 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 change from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Training
There are essentially two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it should be Arizona approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Bullhead City AZ area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction required and that each state has its own requirements. So it's essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some Bullhead City AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of 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 commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Bullhead City AZ or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Bullhead City AZ for non-accredited schools.
- 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 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 a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Bullhead City AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges 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 unhappy 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 Bullhead City AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Bullhead City AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right Bullhead City Nursing Program
Selecting the right registered nursing school is probably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various factors that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted within 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 medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Bullhead City AZ.