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Nursing School Degree Programs San Tan Valley Arizona

How to Select the Best RN Course near San Tan Valley AZ

San Tan Valley AZ Nurse with Doctor and PatientLocating the right nursing school near San Tan Valley AZ may feel like a complicated 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 need to obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are several key additional aspects to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are offered along with what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

San Tan Valley AZ RN taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including San Tan Valley AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general 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 area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Managing 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 normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

San Tan Valley Arizona Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option to choose from 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 just 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the San Tan Valley Arizona area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use 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 expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 commonly a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

Once 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. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Programs

San Tan Valley AZ student attending RN school onlineAttending nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many San Tan Valley AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many 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 training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an indispensable part of a San Tan Valley AZ medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, among the most notable are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a medical facility or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently go into the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related facets, is appealing to many who decide to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a variety of work settings, such as home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses deliver direct patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Programs

questions to ask San Tan Valley AZ nursing degree collegesOnce you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near San Tan Valley AZ or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.

  • 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 verify that you get a premium education, it may assist in acquiring 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some San Tan 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased 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 good reputation within the San Tan Valley AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with San Tan Valley AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Right San Tan Valley AZ Nursing School

San Tan Valley AZ pediatric nurse holding babySelecting the ideal nursing college is probably the most important phase to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various variables that you must consider when selecting a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare 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 final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in San Tan Valley AZ.