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Nursing School Degree Programs Oro Valley Arizona

How to Select the Best RN College near Oro Valley AZ

Oro Valley AZ Registered Nurse with Physician and PatientLocating the best nursing school near Oro Valley AZ may seem like a formidable endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional aspects to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree choices that are available along with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Oro Valley AZ RN taking vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Oro Valley AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Managing 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 commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Oro Valley Arizona Nurse 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 earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations 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 made available by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Classes

Oro Valley AZ student attending RN classes onlineAttending nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for many Oro Valley AZ students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of 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 work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an important part of a Oro Valley AZ medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, among the most significant are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often choose the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the health profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related elements, is appealing to many who decide to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work environments, including nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specializations, including addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses deliver personal patient care, others opt to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

questions to ask Oro Valley AZ nursing degree schoolsNow that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Oro Valley AZ or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly 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 final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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. Some states require a specific 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 a top-notch education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Oro Valley 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 schools you are considering 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 dissatisfied 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 superb reputation within the Oro Valley AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Oro Valley AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Oro Valley AZ Nursing Program

Oro Valley AZ pediatric nurse holding newbornEnrolling in the right nursing program is probably the most important step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous aspects that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed within this content, it is important that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Oro Valley AZ.