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Nursing School Degree Programs Oro Valley Arizona

How to Enroll In an Accredited Nursing Degree Program near Oro Valley AZ

Oro Valley AZ Nurse with Doctor and PatientChoosing the best nursing program near Oro Valley AZ may seem like a difficult undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are many crucial additional factors to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are offered together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Oro Valley AZ Nurse taking blood pressure of patient

Registered nurses are the most extensive 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 basic duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly 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 Degrees

Oro Valley Arizona 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 obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 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 commonly 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 employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 commonly a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

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

Online Nursing Degrees

Oro Valley AZ woman attending nursing college onlineEnrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for some Oro Valley AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. 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 obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Oro Valley AZ or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check 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 schools 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 important 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 healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates 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 Nursing School

Oro Valley Arizona nurse holding patient chartEnrolling in the right nursing college is potentially the most important first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you should consider when deciding on a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed within this post, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community.  By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Oro Valley AZ.