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How to Enroll In the Best Nursing Course near Catalina Arizona

Catalina Arizona Nurse checking man with stethoscopeSelecting the best nursing school near Catalina AZ may feel like a difficult project, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are various essential additional considerations to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are available along with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Catalina Arizona nurse reading vital signs of senior female patient

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Catalina AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring 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 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 basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degrees Available

There is more than one degree option available to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Catalina AZ area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares 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 afterwards achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after attaining 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) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Schools

Catalina Arizona Nurse holding medical fileAttending nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for many Catalina AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an important component of a Catalina AZ medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, the most meaningful are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often choose the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a number of work environments, such as home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses deliver direct patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Colleges

RN interacting with Catalina Arizona nursing home patientOnce you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Catalina AZ or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see 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 agency. Besides helping verify that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Catalina AZ area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different 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. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Catalina AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Catalina AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Catalina AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Degree Programs in Catalina

Enroll in the Right Arizona RN Program

Choosing the right nursing degree program is perhaps the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of factors that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist 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 drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Catalina Arizona.


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