How to Select the Best Nursing Degree Program near Chandler Arizona
Selecting the best nursing program near Chandler AZ may seem like a challenging undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is local to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are several crucial additional aspects to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Chandler AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Chandler AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 normally a 2 year program after receiving 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, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Training
There are principally two academic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it should be Arizona approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study 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 training can be obtained at Chandler AZ area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 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 instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise 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 certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend school for some Chandler AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Chandler AZ or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see 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. In addition to helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Chandler AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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 certain 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 provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Chandler 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 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Chandler AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Chandler AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Best Chandler Nursing College
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing school is probably the most important phase to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous aspects that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our list 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 drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Chandler AZ.