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Nursing School Degree Programs Catalina Foothills Arizona

How to Pick the Best RN Course near Catalina Foothills AZ

Catalina Foothills AZ Nurse with Physician and PatientChoosing the best nursing program near Catalina Foothills AZ may feel like a difficult endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional things to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the roles of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Catalina Foothills AZ RN taking blood pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Catalina Foothills AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to assist 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 duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing 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 advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Catalina Foothills Arizona Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in 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 summaries 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 generally a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

Once 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) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Degrees

Catalina Foothills AZ woman attending RN classes onlineEnrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for many Catalina Foothills AZ students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as 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 work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Schools

Once you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Catalina Foothills AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential 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 as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 organization. Aside from helping make sure that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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) along 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 important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Catalina Foothills 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. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Catalina Foothills AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Catalina Foothills AZ Nursing School

Catalina Foothills Arizona RN holding medical chartDeciding on the right nursing program is probably the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous variables that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this post, it is important that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community.  By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Catalina Foothills AZ.