How to Find the Right Nursing College in Elgin Arizona
Selecting the best nursing program near Elgin AZ may seem like a difficult undertaking, especially if you don’t know 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 appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many crucial additional things to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Elgin AZ medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Elgin AZ, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse in Elgin AZ. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six 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 prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Elgin AZ or concentrate 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) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are basically two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Elgin AZ. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it should be Arizona approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other 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.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Elgin AZ area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for Arizona to make sure that the education 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 additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree in Arizona. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Elgin AZ home, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for many 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 easily affordable. And a large number of 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 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 Schools
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school relative to Elgin AZ as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Elgin AZ.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Elgin AZ area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Elgin 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 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 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 good reputation within the Elgin AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Elgin AZ area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Degree near Elgin AZ
Choosing the right registered nursing school is arguably the most important phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Elgin AZ.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask nursing prospects is "What made you pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a nurse, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you must organize several approaches about how you want to answer them. Since there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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