How to Pick the Best Nursing Program near Drexel Heights Arizona
Finding the best nursing college near Drexel Heights AZ may feel like a formidable endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many important additional factors to check into before you decide where to attend 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 choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Drexel Heights AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing 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 advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common 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 attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Drexel Heights AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally 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 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 generally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Arizona approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at Drexel Heights AZ area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive 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 minimum amount of instruction mandated and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education 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 may be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for some Drexel Heights AZ students. Concerning 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 many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Drexel Heights AZ or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Drexel Heights 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific 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 provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Drexel Heights 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 programs 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Drexel Heights AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially 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. Find out if the schools have associations with Drexel Heights AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Drexel Heights Nursing College
Choosing the right registered nursing college is probably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of variables that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed within this post, it is critical that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Drexel Heights AZ.