How to Pick the Best Nursing Training near Coolidge Arizona
Searching for the best nursing program near Coolidge AZ may feel like a complicated endeavor, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional aspects to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives 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 settings, including Coolidge AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options 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 as little as two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Coolidge AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced 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 qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 job market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two scholastic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with 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 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 core curriculum 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 Coolidge AZ area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training 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 required to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and that each state has its own requirements. So it's essential 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 get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for some Coolidge AZ students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of 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 obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Coolidge AZ or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Coolidge 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- 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 as well. Also, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Coolidge 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Coolidge AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Coolidge AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right Coolidge Nursing College
Enrolling in the right registered nursing program is perhaps the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous aspects that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Coolidge AZ.