How to Pick the Best RN Course near Oro Valley Arizona
Selecting the best nursing program near Oro Valley AZ may feel like a challenging endeavor, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many future students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are several important additional considerations to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
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RN Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Oro Valley AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Oro Valley AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four 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 generally a 2 year program after obtaining 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 obtained one of the above degrees, he or she 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 be sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for some Oro Valley AZ students. Pertaining to 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 minimized, 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 responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Oro Valley AZ or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, 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 look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Oro Valley AZ for non-accredited schools.
- 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) as well as 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 delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, 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 judgments 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Oro Valley AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get 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 prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Oro Valley AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Best Oro Valley Nursing Program
Choosing the ideal nursing school is perhaps the most important first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is essential that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent 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 right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Oro Valley Arizona.