How to Pick a Nursing School near Prescott Valley Arizona
Choosing the right nursing school near Prescott Valley AZ may feel like a complex project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various important additional things to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Prescott Valley AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping 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 normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Prescott Valley AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at 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 may want 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 normally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are generally two academic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, normally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it needs to 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 syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at Prescott Valley AZ area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training directed and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Prescott Valley AZ or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up 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 confirm that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Prescott Valley AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified 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 provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Prescott Valley 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Prescott Valley AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Prescott Valley AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more favored way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Prescott Valley AZ students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Prescott Valley AZ?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Prescott Valley Arizona area. If that is the case, then the following information may prove to be both educational and useful regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Prescott Valley, Arizona
Prescott Valley is a town with a current population (October 2016) of about 45,500 residents. It is located in Yavapai County, Arizona, United States, about 8 miles east of Prescott, which it has surpassed in growth. Prescott Valley was the seventh fastest-growing place among all cities and towns in Arizona between 1990 and 2000.
Prescott Valley (locally, PV) is located in central Arizona approximately 85 miles (137 km) north of Phoenix at 5,100 feet (1,600 m). elevation. PV has good access to Arizona State Route 89, SR-89A and SR-69, connecting to Interstates 17 and 40. Air service is available at Ernest A. Love Field, about 8 miles (13 km) northwest.
One of PV’s landmarks, Glassford Hill (elevation 6,177 feet (1,883 m)) was once an active volcano between 10 and 14 million years ago. Colonel William A. Glassford traveled the area in the 1880s and helped build a system of 27 heliograph stations to monitor the movements of Apache Indians, U.S. military troops and civilians. Glassford Hill was a part of that early communications system.
Enroll in the Right Nursing School near Prescott Valley AZ
Choosing the right registered nursing degree program is probably the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous variables that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Prescott Valley AZ.
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