How to Choose a Nursing Program near Maricopa Arizona
Locating the right nursing college near Maricopa AZ may feel like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are many important additional aspects to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different Maricopa AZ medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced 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, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options offered 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 as little as two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Maricopa AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for some Maricopa AZ students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. 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. And so if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges in the Maricopa AZ area and throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans in Maricopa AZ, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
- 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Maricopa 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 considering 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Maricopa AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Maricopa AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near Maricopa AZ?
Maricopa is a city in the Gila River Valley in the State of Arizona. With an estimated 48,602 residents as of 2015[update], Maricopa is the second most populous incorporated city in Pinal County and eighteenth most populous in Arizona. Maricopa forms part of the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Maricopa has had three locations over the years: Maricopa Wells, Maricopaville and Maricopa Junction; the latter gradually became known as Maricopa. It started as an oasis around a series of watering holes eight miles north of present-day Maricopa, and about a mile west of Pima Butte. European-American traders and travelers called it Maricopa Wells. Several of Arizona’s rivers, the Gila, Santa Cruz, Vekol and Santa Rosa provided this oasis in the desert with an ample supply of water during this period of time.
During the late 1800s, Maricopa Wells was one of the most important relay stations along the San Antonio-San Diego Mail Line and the later more famous Butterfield Overland Mail Route. Although little remains of this once bustling community, it played an important part in the progress and development of the Southwest. It was one of the best-known spots in Arizona during this period of time because it had a reliable source of water, and offered an abundant supply of food. The peaceful Pima and Maricopa farmers who lived and farmed nearby sold supplies to travelers and migrants.
Choose the Right RN College near Maricopa AZ
Selecting the right registered nursing school is arguably the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Maricopa AZ.
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