How to Pick the Best Nursing Program near Oro Valley Arizona
Finding the best nursing program near Oro Valley AZ may seem like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are various important additional factors to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
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RN Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Oro Valley AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Offered
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Oro Valley AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire 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 two year program after receiving 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 attained 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 fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some Oro Valley AZ students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional 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 such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask RN Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Oro Valley AZ or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.
- 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 organization. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring 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 are different 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 confirm that the school has a good 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 ideal way to get 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. Many 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 placing of students in internships.
Select the Right Oro Valley Nursing College
Deciding on the ideal nursing college is probably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous factors that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is important that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Oro Valley Arizona.