Programs to Become an RN in Arizona
Arizona is an attractive state for nurses who enjoy a warm climate and almost perpetual sunshine. The nursing opportunities in Arizona are strong and will remain strong for the next decade. New nursing opportunities are emerging on a regular basis as medical technology advances and healthcare options expand.
The Arizona State Board of Nursing (ASBON) regulates the nursing profession, including initial licensing and license renewal, as well as the approval of nursing programs and the courses included in the nursing program. All nursing programs must be approved by the ASBON in order to fulfill the educational requirements to take the National Council for Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
Nursing candidates are required to complete an approved nursing program at an accredited college or university and earn an Associate’s or Bachelors degree. Nursing programs provide the student with education in obstetrics, pediatrics and geriatric patients, patients with mental impairment and patients seeking wellness care. The programs must also include clinical training.
A month before the student is set to graduate; they can apply to the ASBON to take the NCLEX-RN. The student must request a transcript be sent to the ASBON directly from the school they attend and submit an application with the required information including information for a criminal background check and fingerprint card. The ASBON will review each application and if complete will issue an authorization to test (ATT). The student will register with Pearson VUE to take the exam, and once the ATT has been issued, the exam can be taken. There is a 60 day timeframe to take the exam beginning on the day the ATT is issued. If the exam is not taken within the 60 day timeframe, the ATT is null and void, and the application process must begin again. If the student passes the exam, they will be issued an RN license number. If the student does not pass the exam, they will be given the opportunity to take the exam again.
Nurses in Arizona must renew their license every two years. A prerequisite for renewal is to complete 960 hours of RN licensed practice, ASBON approved refresher course or completion of an advanced nursing degrees including RN to BSN, MSN, Doctorate or advanced practice certificate every five years.
RNs in Arizona will find employment in a variety of facilities including hospitals and nursing homes, assisted care facilities, visiting nurse and hospice organizations, occupational healthcare centers, schools and government facilities, vacation clubs and insurance companies evaluating medical claims.
The average salary for RNs is $75,000 annually and the starting salary for an RN with little or no experience is about $49,000, and an RN who was previously employed as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a certified nursing assistant (CNA) will command a starting salary of about $55,000. The actual salary will vary according to geographic location, type of facility where employed, level of responsibility, area of expertise, if any, and years of experience.
RNs take on a variety of duties and those duties often vary depending on the facility and day of the week. RNs supervise the CNA staff, coordinate care plans, dispense medication according to plan, perform emergency measures, assist doctors in surgery, track vital signs, coordinate information between doctors and patients and their families and dress wounds and change dressings.
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