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Nursing School Degree Programs Catalina Foothills Arizona

How to Find the Best Nursing School near Catalina Foothills AZ

Catalina Foothills AZ Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientLocating the best nursing college near Catalina Foothills AZ may feel like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are various crucial additional factors to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Catalina Foothills AZ RN taking blood pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Catalina Foothills AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Keeping health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level 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 Degrees Available

Catalina Foothills Arizona Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option offered to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Catalina Foothills Arizona area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It readies 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 later obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Arizona 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 want 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 usually a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has received 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 can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Classes

Catalina Foothills AZ student attending RN college onlineAttending nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for some Catalina Foothills AZ students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, 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 job and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Catalina Foothills AZ or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines 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 decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.

  • 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Catalina Foothills 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 programs 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Catalina Foothills AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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 mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Catalina Foothills AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Catalina Foothills AZ RN Program

Catalina Foothills Arizona nurse holding medical chartChoosing the ideal nursing degree program is perhaps the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are various aspects that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this content, it is critical that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community.  By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list 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 practicing nurse in Catalina Foothills AZ.