How to Select the Best Nursing Program near Golden Valley Arizona
Selecting the right nursing college near Golden Valley AZ may feel like a complex project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to 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 college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are several crucial additional considerations to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Golden Valley AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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 multiple degrees available 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 just two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Golden Valley 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 such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 commonly a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are generally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time period, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish 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 some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at Golden Valley AZ area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training 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 obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and every state has its own requirements. So it's important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with 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 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 can be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many Golden Valley AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Golden Valley AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start 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 essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Golden Valley 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many 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 attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Golden Valley AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Golden Valley AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Golden Valley AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Golden Valley Nursing School
Selecting the right registered nursing college is probably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this post, it is important that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using 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 proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Golden Valley AZ.