How to Choose a Nursing College in Green Valley Arizona
Selecting the right nursing school near Green Valley AZ may seem like a challenging project, especially if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various key additional factors to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Green Valley AZ medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, 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
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing 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), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Green Valley AZ, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse in Green Valley AZ. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Arizona 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 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 generally a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Green Valley AZ or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Training
There are basically two scholastic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Green Valley AZ. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it should be Arizona approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Green Valley AZ area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction required and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for Arizona to make certain that the training course is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Arizona. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Green Valley AZ home, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily 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 job and household obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school relative to Green Valley AZ as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Green Valley AZ.
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) 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 important that the Green Valley AZ area school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Green Valley 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 programs 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Green Valley AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Green Valley AZ area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right RN College near Green Valley AZ
Picking the right registered nursing school is potentially the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many factors that you should think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this article, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist 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 desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Green Valley AZ.
Why Did You Choose to Become an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the private reasons you might have for being a nurse, but also what characteristics and talents you possess that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you must organize some ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the talents you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the best choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down some ideas and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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