Home >> Arizona >> Sierra Vista >> Nursing Schools


Nursing School Degree Programs Sierra Vista Arizona

How to Pick the Best Nursing Program near Sierra Vista AZ

Sierra Vista AZ Nurse with Physician and PatientLocating the right nursing college near Sierra Vista AZ may seem like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is local to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are several important additional aspects to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Sierra Vista AZ RN taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Sierra Vista AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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 Degrees Available

Sierra Vista Arizona Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There are several degree options offered to become a nurse. And in order 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 continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions 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 typically a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually 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 may desire 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 generally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has acquired 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. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Schools

Sierra Vista Arizona student attending nursing college onlineEnrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Sierra Vista AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. 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 job and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

What to Ask Nursing Programs

Now that you have selected 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 guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly 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 prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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. Besides helping verify that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified 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 a top-notch education, but also preps 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 organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check 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 assessments 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 unhappy 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 superb reputation within the Sierra Vista AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain 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 prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Sierra Vista AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Right Sierra Vista AZ Nursing Program

Selecting the ideal nursing school is potentially the most critical first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of factors that you need to think about when picking a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community.  By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick 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 Sierra Vista AZ.