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How to Select the Best RN Course near Oro Valley Arizona

Oro Valley Arizona Nurse checking patient with stethoscopeSelecting the right nursing college near Oro Valley AZ may seem like a challenging endeavor, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is local to your home is probably not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are many crucial additional considerations to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Oro Valley Arizona nurse taking vital signs of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Oro Valley AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to help doctors in the treatment 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. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing 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 normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degree Options

There are several degree options available to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Oro Valley AZ area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at 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 might 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 normally a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Programs

Oro Valley Arizona RN holding health chartEnrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for many Oro Valley AZ students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary 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. Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an integral component of a Oro Valley AZ medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, among the most significant are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly go into the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This human side of the healthcare profession, rather than the analytical or research related elements, is attractive to many who choose to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work environments, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses deliver personal patient care, others opt to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Schools

RN reading with Oro Valley Arizona assisted living patientNow that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Oro Valley AZ or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Oro Valley AZ area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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. Some 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 readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, 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 Oro Valley AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges 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 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Oro Valley AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Oro Valley AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Find Out More About Enrolling in Nursing Classes in Oro Valley

Enroll in the Best Arizona RN Program

Choosing the ideal nursing degree program is probably the most important step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are numerous aspects that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is essential that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Oro Valley Arizona.


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