How to Choose a Nursing Program in Lake Montezuma Arizona
Finding the best nursing school near Lake Montezuma AZ may seem like a difficult undertaking, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional factors to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Lake Montezuma AZ medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function 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 as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level 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 provide primary or specialty care services in Lake Montezuma AZ, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in Lake Montezuma AZ. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Lake Montezuma AZ or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Lake Montezuma AZ. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time period, typically about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of 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 warrants 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.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Lake Montezuma AZ area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to 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. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for Arizona to make sure that the training course 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.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to get training and acquire a nursing degree in Arizona. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Lake Montezuma AZ home, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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 very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school relative to Lake Montezuma AZ along with the price 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 ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Lake Montezuma AZ.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Lake Montezuma AZ area school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Lake Montezuma 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 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 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Lake Montezuma AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Lake Montezuma AZ area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Degree near Lake Montezuma AZ
Selecting the right registered nursing degree program is potentially the most critical step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are many aspects that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is critical that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Lake Montezuma AZ.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's important to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should organize some ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down several concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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