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Nursing School Degree Programs Sun City Arizona

How to Select the Best Nursing School near Sun City AZ

Sun City AZ Nurse with Doctor and PatientSelecting the best nursing college near Sun City AZ may seem like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are various essential additional factors to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are available together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Sun City AZ Nurse taking blood pressure of woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Sun City AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing 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), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Sun City Arizona Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There are several degree options to choose from to become a nurse. And in order 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 as little as two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Sun City Arizona area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 employment market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After 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. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Programs

Sun City Arizona student attending RN classes onlineAttending nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for many Sun City AZ students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can 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 job and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Things to Ask Nursing Schools

Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Sun City AZ or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably 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 select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.

  • 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided 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) in addition to 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 attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Sun City 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 colleges 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Sun City AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Sun City AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Right Sun City AZ RN School

Picking the right nursing degree program is arguably the most critical step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of variables that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this article, 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 develop a shortlist 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 drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Sun City AZ.