How to Select the Right Nursing Degree Program near Guadalupe Arizona
Finding the right nursing school near Guadalupe AZ may feel like a challenging endeavor, 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 must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are many key additional things to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Guadalupe AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level 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 provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive 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 short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Guadalupe AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 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 might desire 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 normally a 2 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.
When 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) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to check 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, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, 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 any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Guadalupe AZ area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain 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 required and each state has its own prerequisites. So it's essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only complies with 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 sure that the training course is state certified. Along with 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.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. 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 college for some Guadalupe AZ students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily 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 work and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Guadalupe AZ or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.
- 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 organization. Besides helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Guadalupe AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some 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 enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Guadalupe 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 programs you are looking at 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Guadalupe AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Guadalupe AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right Guadalupe Nursing Program
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing college is potentially the most important phase to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous aspects that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list 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 RN in Guadalupe AZ.