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How to Pick the Right Nursing Degree Program near Paradise Valley Arizona

Paradise Valley Arizona Nurse checking patient with stethoscopeSearching for the best nursing college near Paradise Valley AZ may seem like a formidable endeavor, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are various crucial additional aspects to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree alternatives that are available as well as what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Paradise Valley Arizona RN reading vital signs of senior female patient

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Paradise Valley AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced 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 College Degrees Available

There are multiple degrees 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 obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Paradise Valley AZ area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally 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 may wish to advance 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 usually a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has obtained 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.

Online Nursing Classes

Paradise Valley Arizona Nurse holding health chartAttending nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for many Paradise Valley AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily 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 work and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an integral component of a Paradise Valley AZ medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, the most meaningful are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a medical facility or home care setting 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 situations of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This human aspect of the health profession, rather than the analytical or research related aspects, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a career in nursing. 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 number of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While many nurses deliver personal patient care, others elect to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Programs

registered nurse interacting with Paradise Valley Arizona nursing home patientOnce you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Paradise Valley AZ or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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 make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Paradise 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified 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 delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Paradise 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 colleges you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied 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 Paradise Valley AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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 too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Paradise Valley AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Courses in Paradise Valley

Enroll in the Best Arizona RN Program

Enrolling in the right nursing degree program is perhaps the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are many factors that you must think about when selecting a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Paradise Valley Arizona.


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