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How to Pick an Accredited Nursing Training Program near Oro Valley Arizona

Oro Valley Arizona Nurse examining man with stethoscopeLocating the best nursing school near Oro Valley AZ may feel like a formidable project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is local to your residence is probably not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are several key additional considerations to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are available together with what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Oro Valley Arizona RN taking vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Oro Valley AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degrees

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 as little as two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 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 typically a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including 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) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 commonly a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has earned 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. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Classes

Oro Valley Arizona RN holding health fileEnrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Oro Valley AZ students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an important part of a Oro Valley AZ medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, among the most meaningful are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often go into the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the health profession, rather than the analytical or research related aspects, is attractive to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select 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 variety of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses provide primary patient care, others opt to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

RN interacting with Oro Valley Arizona nursing home patientNow that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if 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 undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may help 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 criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, 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 opinions are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 good reputation within the Oro Valley AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Oro Valley AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Degree Programs in Oro Valley

Choose the Best Arizona RN College

Choosing the right nursing degree program is perhaps the most critical phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Oro Valley Arizona.


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