How to Pick a Nursing Program near Phoenix Arizona
Locating the right nursing college near Phoenix AZ may seem like a challenging project, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are various crucial additional things to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Phoenix AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced 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 provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend 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 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Phoenix AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn 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 prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 usually a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) 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 basically two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest time frame, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying 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 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 most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Phoenix AZ area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive 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 period of training required and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Phoenix AZ or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Phoenix AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary 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. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Phoenix AZ healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Phoenix AZ healthcare 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. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend college for some Phoenix AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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 very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Phoenix AZ?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Phoenix Arizona area. If that is the case, then the following information may prove to be both educational and useful regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Phoenix (/ˈfiːnɪks/) is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Arizona. With 1,626,078 people (as of 2017[update]), Phoenix is the fifth most populous city nationwide, the most populous state capital in the United States, and the only state capital with a population of more than one million residents.
Phoenix is the anchor of the Phoenix metropolitan area, also known as the Valley of the Sun, which in turn is a part of the Salt River Valley. The metropolitan area is the 12th largest by population in the United States, with approximately 4.73 million people as of 2017[update]. In addition, Phoenix is the seat of Maricopa County, and at 517.9 square miles (1,341 km2), it is the largest city in the state, more than twice the size of Tucson and one of the largest cities in the United States.
Settled in 1867 as an agricultural community near the confluence of the Salt and Gila Rivers, Phoenix incorporated as a city in 1881. It became the capital of Arizona in 1889. Located in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix has a hot desert climate. Despite this, its canal system led to a thriving farming community with many of the original crops, such as alfalfa, cotton, citrus, and hay, remaining important parts of the Phoenix economy for decades. Cotton, cattle, citrus, climate, and copper were known locally as the "Five C's" of Phoenix's economy. These industries remained the driving forces of the city until after World War II, when high-tech companies began to move into the valley and air conditioning made Phoenix's hot summers more bearable.
Pick the Right Nursing Program near Phoenix AZ
Picking the ideal registered nursing program is arguably the most important step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Phoenix AZ.
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