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Nursing School Degree Programs Catalina Foothills Arizona

How to Select the Right RN Course near Catalina Foothills AZ

Catalina Foothills AZ Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientSelecting the best nursing school near Catalina Foothills AZ may seem like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many important additional things to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are offered along with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Catalina Foothills AZ RN taking blood pressure of woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including Catalina Foothills AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend 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
  • Performing 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 more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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 basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

Catalina Foothills Arizona RN assisting surgeon

There are several degree options to choose from to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Catalina Foothills Arizona area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 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 use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

When 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. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Programs

Catalina Foothills AZ student attending RN school onlineEnrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for some Catalina Foothills AZ students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Schools

Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Catalina Foothills AZ or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other programs.

  • 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Catalina Foothills AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Catalina Foothills AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Catalina Foothills AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Catalina Foothills AZ RN School

Catalina Foothills Arizona RN holding medical chartDeciding on the right nursing program is probably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous aspects that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community.  By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Catalina Foothills AZ.