How to Pick a Nursing School in Mesa Arizona
Searching for the best nursing program near Mesa AZ may seem like a formidable undertaking, particularly 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 must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence is no doubt not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are several crucial additional things to check out before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Mesa AZ medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. 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 in Mesa AZ, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse in Mesa AZ. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 normally a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Mesa AZ or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are basically two academic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Mesa AZ. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it should be Arizona approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Mesa AZ area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training mandated and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for Arizona to make sure that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree in Arizona. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Mesa AZ home, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary 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 such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school relative to Mesa AZ and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.
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 organization. Besides helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Mesa AZ.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Mesa AZ area school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Mesa 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 looking at 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Mesa AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Mesa AZ area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right RN School near Mesa AZ
Picking the ideal registered nursing program is perhaps the most important first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are various aspects that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed in this content, it is important that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Mesa AZ.
Why Did You Decide to Be an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that interviewers typically ask nursing applicants is "What made you choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the private reasons you may have for being a registered nurse, but also what qualities and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you should organize several ideas about how you want to address them. Given that there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the best choice for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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