How to Select a Nursing School in Coolidge Arizona
Finding the best nursing school near Coolidge AZ may feel like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are several key additional aspects to investigate before you decide 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 health system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Coolidge AZ medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Coolidge AZ, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Coolidge 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 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 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 employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Coolidge AZ 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) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are principally two academic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Coolidge AZ. The one that can be finished in the shortest amount of time, typically about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other option is to attain 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, along with providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish 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 guarantees that the syllabus properly 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 attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Coolidge AZ area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training directed and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Arizona to make sure that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree in Arizona. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Coolidge AZ home, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more 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. So if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school relative to Coolidge AZ and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up 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. Aside from helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Coolidge AZ.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Coolidge AZ area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Coolidge 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 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Coolidge AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Coolidge AZ area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN College near Coolidge AZ
Selecting the ideal registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most crucial step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous aspects that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Coolidge AZ.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's important to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask nursing applicants is "What made you decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the private reasons you may have for being a RN, but also what qualities and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you must organize a number of approaches about how you want to address them. Considering there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the best candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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