How to Pick a Nursing Program near Sun City West Arizona
Choosing the right nursing program near Sun City West AZ may feel like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regretably, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is closest to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to select a nursing college. There are various crucial additional factors to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different Sun City West AZ medical settings, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Sun City West AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 usually a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired 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 vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for some Sun City West AZ students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more 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 family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, 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 no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges in the Sun City West AZ area and throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans in Sun City West AZ, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ 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 imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Sun City West 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 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Sun City West AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Sun City West AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near Sun City West AZ?
Sun City West, Arizona
As of the census of 2010, there were 24,535 people, 14,873 households, and 8,550 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 2,245.2 people per square mile (866.9/km²). There were 18,218 housing units at an average density of 1,666.8 per square mile (643.6/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 97.8% White, 0.8% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.2% from other races, and 0.5% from two or more races. 1.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 14,873 households out of which 14 had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.5% were married couples living together, 2.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.5% were non-families. 39.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 35.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.64 and the average family size was 2.05.
In the CDP, the population was spread out with 0.1% under the age of 14, 0.1% from 15 to 19, 0.1% from 15 to 24, 0.2% from 25 to 29, 0.2% from 30 to 34, 0.2% 35 to 39, 0.4% 45 to 49, 1.5% from 50 to 54, 3.6% 55 to 59, 9.2% from 60 to 64, 13.8% from 65 to 69, 17.2% from 70 to 74, 19.5% from 75 to 79, 18.3% from 80 to 84, and 14.8% who were 85 years of age or older. The median age was 75.6 years. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.6 males.
Select the Right RN College near Sun City West AZ
Enrolling in the right registered nursing school is potentially the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are various variables that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Sun City West AZ.
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