How to Pick the Right Nursing Program near Lake Montezuma Arizona
Selecting the best nursing college near Lake Montezuma AZ may feel like a formidable endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is closest to your house is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are several key additional considerations to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Lake Montezuma AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of 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 deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Lake Montezuma AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 commonly a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, normally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with 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 kind of credential you seek, it should be Arizona approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at Lake Montezuma AZ area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction directed and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it's necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many Lake Montezuma AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Lake Montezuma AZ or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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. Besides helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Lake Montezuma AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent 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 companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Lake Montezuma 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important 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 Montezuma AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Lake Montezuma AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Lake Montezuma Nursing School
Enrolling in the right registered nursing program is arguably the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are many factors that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is important that you pick an RN college 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 shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Lake Montezuma AZ.