How to Find the Best Nursing Degree Program near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Searching for the right nursing college near Lake Havasu City AZ may feel like a formidable project, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the best way to select a nursing program. There are many essential additional considerations to check out before you make a decision 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 system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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 Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And 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 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Lake Havasu City AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares 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 obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly 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 might desire to advance 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 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two academic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest period of time, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, 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 course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at Lake Havasu City AZ area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training directed and each state has its specific requirements. So it's crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend college for many Lake Havasu City AZ students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Lake Havasu City AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Lake Havasu City 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 specified 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 outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet 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 speak with some Lake Havasu City 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Lake Havasu City AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right Lake Havasu City Nursing School
Selecting the ideal registered nursing school is arguably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are various factors that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed within this content, it is important that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Lake Havasu City AZ.