How to Pick the Best Nursing Program near Doney Park Arizona
Locating the right nursing college near Doney Park AZ may feel like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are many key additional aspects to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss 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 Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Doney Park AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing 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 high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver 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 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 as little as two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Doney Park AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 generally a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are generally two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, 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 attests that the core curriculum 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 many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at Doney Park AZ area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain 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 minimal period of training required and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more in demand way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for many Doney Park AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional 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. And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Doney Park AZ or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, 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 agency. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Doney Park AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ 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. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Doney Park 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 programs 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Doney Park AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Doney Park AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right Doney Park Nursing School
Choosing the ideal registered nursing school is perhaps the most important phase to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you must take into account 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 highlighted in this content, it is critical that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Doney Park AZ.