Home >> Arizona >> Tempe >> Nursing Schools


Nursing School Degree Programs Tempe Arizona

How to Choose the Best RN Program near Tempe AZ

Tempe AZ RN with Doctor and PatientSelecting the right nursing college near Tempe AZ may feel like a challenging undertaking, especially 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 obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least expensive college or the one that is local to your residence is no doubt not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are many key additional factors to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Tempe AZ RN taking blood pressure of woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Tempe AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees

Tempe Arizona Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option offered 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 2 years, or continue on to obtain 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 Tempe Arizona area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available 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 afterwards achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire to progress 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 attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Degrees

Tempe Arizona student attending nursing classes onlineAttending nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. 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 some Tempe AZ students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. 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 household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Things to Ask Nursing Programs

Once you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Tempe AZ or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many 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 already pointed out, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.

  • 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 agency. Aside from helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different 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. Many 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 attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies 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, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Tempe 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 schools 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Tempe AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Tempe AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Right Tempe AZ RN School

Choosing the ideal nursing program is arguably the most important phase to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are many factors that you should consider when picking a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community.  By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Tempe AZ.