How to Pick the Best RN Degree Program near Oro Valley AZ
Choosing the best nursing college near Oro Valley AZ may seem like a challenging undertaking, 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 receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are many crucial additional factors to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are available together with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Oro Valley AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally 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 Degree Options
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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as 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 Oro Valley 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 job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 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 want to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to receive instruction and earn 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 carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many Oro Valley AZ students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Oro Valley AZ or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous 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 earlier discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. 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 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 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Oro Valley AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Oro Valley AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Oro Valley AZ Nursing Program
Choosing the ideal nursing college is probably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous factors that you must consider when picking a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Oro Valley AZ.