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Nursing School Degree Programs San Luis Arizona

How to Select the Best Nursing Training Program near San Luis AZ

San Luis AZ Nurse with Physician and PatientSelecting the right nursing college near San Luis AZ may seem like a formidable endeavor, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is local to your house is probably not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of key additional considerations to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are available as well as what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

San Luis AZ Nurse taking blood pressure of woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as San Luis AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring 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 higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

San Luis Arizona Nurse assisting surgeon

There are several degree options offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve 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 San Luis Arizona area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 job market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after achieving 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 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. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Classes

San Luis Arizona student attending RN school onlineAttending nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend school for some San Luis AZ students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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 work and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Schools

Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near San Luis AZ or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. 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 pick compares 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified 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 readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some San Luis 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 colleges 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the San Luis AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with San Luis AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Best San Luis AZ RN Program

Deciding on the ideal nursing college is perhaps the most important first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community.  By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in San Luis AZ.