How to Choose the Best Nursing Training near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Searching for the right nursing school near Lake Havasu City AZ may seem like a complex endeavor, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate 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 thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is closest to your house is most likely not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional aspects 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 health system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing 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), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Lake Havasu City AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 obtaining 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 received 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. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are principally two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, typically about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the type 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 attests that the syllabus properly 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 have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at Lake Havasu City AZ area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have 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 minimal period of instruction required and that every state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make sure 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 recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Courses
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Lake Havasu City AZ students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary 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. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Lake Havasu City AZ or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.
- 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 agency. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Lake Havasu City AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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 specified 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 an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 colleges 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 dissatisfied 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 superb reputation within the Lake Havasu City AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain 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 prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Best Lake Havasu City Nursing Degree Program
Enrolling in the right registered nursing program is perhaps the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous aspects that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is critical that you pick 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 create 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 drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Lake Havasu City AZ.