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Nursing School Degree Programs Sierra Vista Arizona

How to Pick an Accredited RN Course near Sierra Vista AZ

Sierra Vista AZ Registered Nurse with Physician and PatientChoosing the best nursing program near Sierra Vista AZ may seem like a complex project, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional factors to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are available as well as what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Sierra Vista AZ Nurse taking blood pressure of patient

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Sierra Vista AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

Sierra Vista Arizona Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees available 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 receive 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 summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Sierra Vista Arizona area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 job market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

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

Nursing Online Degrees

Sierra Vista AZ student attending nursing college onlineEnrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more preferred way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for some Sierra Vista AZ students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

What to Ask Nursing Programs

Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Sierra Vista AZ or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin 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 important to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points 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 measures up to the field.

  • 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 agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together 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 imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check internet 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 determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Sierra Vista AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Sierra Vista AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Sierra Vista AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Right Sierra Vista AZ Nursing Program

Sierra Vista Arizona nurse holding medical chartDeciding on the ideal nursing program is probably the most crucial step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of aspects that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community.  By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Sierra Vista AZ.