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How to Choose an Accredited RN Degree Program near Rio Rico Arizona

Rio Rico Arizona RN checking patient with stethoscopeChoosing the right nursing program near Rio Rico AZ may seem like a difficult undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are many crucial additional considerations to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree options that are offered together with what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Rio Rico Arizona nurse taking blodd pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Rio Rico AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Keeping health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex 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 deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing School Degrees Available

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 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Rio Rico AZ area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally 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 desire 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 generally a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Degrees

Rio Rico Arizona Nurse holding health chartAttending nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend college for many Rio Rico AZ students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of 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 obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an integral component of a Rio Rico AZ medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, the most significant are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently go into the profession out of a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related elements, is appealing to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work settings, including home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses provide personal patient care, others elect to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

RN interacting with Rio Rico Arizona nursing home patientNow that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Rio Rico AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.

  • 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Rio Rico AZ area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Rio Rico 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Rio Rico AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Rio Rico AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Programs in Rio Rico

Choose the Best Arizona RN College

Deciding on the ideal nursing college is perhaps the most important phase to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of aspects that you must think about when picking a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is important that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Rio Rico Arizona.


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