How to Pick the Right RN School near Oro Valley Arizona
Locating the best nursing school near Oro Valley AZ may feel like a formidable project, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional aspects to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
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Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Oro Valley AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and typically 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 Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Oro Valley AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for many Oro Valley AZ students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many 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 family obligations have left you with very little 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 hectic schedule.
Things to Ask RN Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Oro Valley AZ or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
- 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. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Oro Valley AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain 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 enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check out 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 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 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Oro Valley AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Oro Valley AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right Oro Valley Nursing School
Selecting the right nursing school is perhaps the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this content, it is critical that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Oro Valley Arizona.