How to Select the Right Nursing College near Oro Valley AZ
Choosing the right nursing college near Oro Valley AZ may seem like a complex project, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are various important additional factors to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree choices that are available as well as what the functions of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as Oro Valley 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 specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options offered 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 as little as two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Oro Valley Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a more advanced 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 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 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 normally 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 earned 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. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for some Oro Valley AZ students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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 obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Oro Valley AZ or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
- 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. In addition to helping verify that you get 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 vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Oro Valley AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Oro Valley AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Oro Valley AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Oro Valley AZ RN School
Selecting the right nursing degree program is potentially the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of variables that you should take into account when selecting a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using 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 ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Oro Valley AZ.