Home >> Arizona >> San Tan Valley >> Rn Programs


Nursing School Degree Programs San Tan Valley Arizona

How to Find an Accredited RN Program near San Tan Valley AZ

San Tan Valley AZ RN with Doctor and PatientFinding the right nursing program near San Tan Valley AZ may seem like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are many key additional things to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are offered along with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

San Tan Valley AZ RN taking vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including San Tan Valley AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Keeping health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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 Degree Options

San Tan Valley Arizona Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option available to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the San Tan Valley Arizona area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a more advanced 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 able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus 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) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Schools

San Tan Valley AZ woman attending RN classes onlineAttending nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend classes for many San Tan Valley AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an essential part of a San Tan Valley AZ medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, among the most notable are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This human side of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is attractive to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a variety of work environments, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While many nurses provide personal patient care, others choose to be educators, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Colleges

questions to ask San Tan Valley AZ nursing training schoolsOnce you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near San Tan Valley AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start 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 necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 agency. Aside from helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some 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 enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the San Tan Valley AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with San Tan Valley AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best San Tan Valley AZ Nursing Program

San Tan Valley AZ RN holding babyPicking the right nursing degree program is potentially the most critical step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous variables that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this post, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community.  By utilizing 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 final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in San Tan Valley AZ.