How to Select a Nursing College near Central Arizona
Selecting the right nursing college near Central AZ may feel like a formidable undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many important additional aspects to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different Central AZ medical environments, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function 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 in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse. And 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 continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Central AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend school for some Central AZ students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges in the Central AZ area and throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans in Central AZ, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) in addition to 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 school you are enrolled in not only delivers 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. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Central 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Central AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Central AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near Central AZ?
Central is at 32°52′13″N 109°47′35″W / 32.87028°N 109.79306°W / 32.87028; -109.79306, at an elevation of approximately 2900 feet above sea level. From this location just south of the Gila River within the Upper Gila Valley, Mount Graham of the Pinaleño (Pinaleno Mountains) range dominates the southern skyline.
Central was first homesteaded by the Cluff family in 1880. The Cluffs extended the Central Canal to their lands on the eastern side of Central. Later settlers extended the canal west and north. In 1883 construction began on a one-room white rock building to be used as a church meeting house and school house. By 1884 twenty families, including Cluff, Norton, Shurtz, Bigler, and Webster households resided in Central. In 1978 the streets were named after these early Mormon pioneers. In December 1883 the Central Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was organized and Joseph Cluff was ordained the first bishop. A new red brick church was built in 1885. It was the first regular meeting house built in this part of Arizona and was also the first home of the LDS Academy from December 1890 to May 1891. A plaque east of Hwy 70 on Central Road commemorates the original home of the St. Joseph Stake Academy that later moved to Thatcher and became Eastern Arizona College.
In 1894, LDS Church historian Andrew Jensen reported on the Central Ward: "Thirty-five families or 178 souls, constitute the Mormon population, and there are only two other families in the district. Central excels in point of large orchards, extensive alfalfa fields and good grain. The meeting house is the only public building in the settlement, in which there is also a small store and a post office. There are a number of fine and comfortable private residences, built mostly of brick and adobe."
Pick the Right RN Degree near Central AZ
Picking the ideal registered nursing school is probably the most important phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are various aspects that you should think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional 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 ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Central AZ.
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