How to Select a Nursing College near Flagstaff Arizona
Searching for the best nursing program near Flagstaff AZ may seem like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional aspects to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Flagstaff AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine 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 attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Flagstaff AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When 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. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Training
There are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest amount of time, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more in-depth 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 another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants 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.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at Flagstaff AZ area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 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 must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction required and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state certified. 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 requirements as well.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Flagstaff AZ or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.
- 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 verify that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Flagstaff 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 needed 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Flagstaff 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 complete 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Flagstaff AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Flagstaff AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Flagstaff AZ students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Flagstaff AZ?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Flagstaff 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.
Flagstaff is a city in and the county seat of Coconino County in northern Arizona, in the southwestern United States. In 2015, the city's estimated population was 70,320. Flagstaff's combined metropolitan area has an estimated population of 139,097. The city is named after a ponderosa pine flagpole made by a scouting party from Boston (known as the "Second Boston Party") to celebrate the United States Centennial on July 4, 1876.
Flagstaff lies near the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau, along the western side of the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the continental United States. Flagstaff is next to Mount Elden, just south of the San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountain range in the state of Arizona. Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet (3,851 m), is about 10 miles (16 km) north of Flagstaff in Kachina Peaks Wilderness.
Flagstaff's early economy was based on the lumber, railroad, and ranching industries. Today, the city remains an important distribution hub for companies such as Nestlé Purina PetCare, and is home to Lowell Observatory, The U.S. Naval Observatory, the United States Geological Survey Flagstaff Station, and Northern Arizona University. Flagstaff has a strong tourism sector, due to its proximity to Grand Canyon National Park, Oak Creek Canyon, the Arizona Snowbowl, Meteor Crater, and historic Route 66. The city is also a center for medical device manufacturing, since Flagstaff is home to W. L. Gore and Associates.
Select the Right Nursing Program near Flagstaff AZ
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing program is arguably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are many factors that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is important that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Flagstaff AZ.
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