How to Choose the Best Nursing College near Chandler Arizona
Choosing the best nursing college near Chandler AZ may seem like a challenging endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is local to your residence is probably not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are several crucial additional aspects to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare 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 job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping 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 often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Chandler AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including 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) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 generally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example 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. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are basically two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind 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 effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most 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 acquired at Chandler 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. 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 training mandated and each state has its own prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training 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 other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Courses
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Chandler AZ students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, 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 work and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Chandler AZ or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary 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 as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other programs.
- 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 make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Chandler 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Chandler 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 schools 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential 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 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 environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Chandler AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Best Chandler Nursing School
Enrolling in the right registered nursing college is arguably the most important first step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are various factors that you should think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed in this content, it is critical that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select 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 licensed registered nurse in Chandler AZ.