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Nursing School Degree Programs Sun City Arizona

How to Select an Accredited Nursing School near Sun City AZ

Sun City AZ Nurse with Physician and PatientLocating the right nursing school near Sun City AZ may feel like a difficult undertaking, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is local to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of important additional things to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are offered along with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Sun City AZ Nurse taking vital signs of patient

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Sun City AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

Sun City Arizona 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 acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn 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 Sun City Arizona area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to progress 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 receiving 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 acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Classes

Sun City AZ student attending nursing school onlineAttending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend school for many Sun City AZ students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily 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. So if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an important component of a Sun City AZ medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to many opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, 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 go into the profession due to a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This human aspect of the health profession, rather than the research or analytical related elements, is attractive to many who decide to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work settings, such as home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While most nurses provide personal patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Schools

what to ask Sun City AZ nursing training programsNow that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Sun City AZ or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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 specific 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 outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with 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 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 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 healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Sun City AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Sun City AZ Nursing School

Sun City AZ nurse holding babyChoosing the ideal nursing program is probably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are many variables that you should take into account when picking a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is essential that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community.  By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list 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 desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Sun City AZ.