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Nursing School Degree Programs Sierra Vista Arizona

How to Choose the Best Nursing Training Program near Sierra Vista AZ

Sierra Vista AZ Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientFinding the best nursing college near Sierra Vista AZ may seem like a complicated undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are various essential additional factors to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are available along with what the roles of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Sierra Vista AZ RN taking blood pressure of woman

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

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing 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), as an example, 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 basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

Sierra Vista Arizona RN assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option offered 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 earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to earn 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 Sierra Vista Arizona area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 commonly a 2 year program after obtaining 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 obtained 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 can vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Programs

Sierra Vista AZ woman attending nursing school onlineAttending nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend school for some Sierra Vista AZ students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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. Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Sierra Vista AZ or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.

  • 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. Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required 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 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 satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 colleges 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Sierra Vista AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Sierra Vista AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Sierra Vista AZ Nursing School

Sierra Vista Arizona nurse holding patient chartChoosing the ideal nursing college is arguably the most critical phase to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is critical that you select a nursing college 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 short list 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Sierra Vista AZ.