How to Pick a Nursing Program in Goodyear Arizona
Finding the right nursing program near Goodyear AZ may feel like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are many key additional factors to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Goodyear AZ medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating 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 complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Goodyear AZ, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in Goodyear AZ. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 employment 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 example to become a nurse practitioner in Goodyear AZ or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained 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. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are principally two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Goodyear AZ. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it should be Arizona approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Goodyear AZ area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training directed and every state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Arizona to make certain that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to get training and earn a nursing degree in Arizona. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Goodyear AZ home, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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. So if your work and household obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Courses
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school relative to Goodyear AZ along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.
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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Goodyear AZ.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Goodyear AZ area school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Goodyear 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased 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 superb reputation within the Goodyear AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Goodyear AZ area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN College near Goodyear AZ
Deciding on the right registered nursing program is potentially the most crucial step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various variables that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Goodyear AZ.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. One of the things that interviewers often ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a registered nurse, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare some ideas about how you would like to answer them. Because there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the talents you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the best candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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