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Nursing School Degree Programs Tucson Arizona

How to Enroll In an Accredited Nursing Training Program near Tucson AZ

Tucson AZ RN with Doctor and PatientChoosing the right nursing program near Tucson AZ may seem like a challenging endeavor, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly college or the one that is local to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional things to check out before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Tucson AZ RN taking blood pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Tucson AZ hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically 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

Tucson Arizona RN assisting surgeon

There are several degree options 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 receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Tucson Arizona area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by Arizona community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 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 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After 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) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Schools

Tucson AZ woman attending nursing classes onlineEnrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. 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 college for some Tucson AZ students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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. And so if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an integral component of a Tucson AZ medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, among the most notable are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly go into the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This human aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related aspects, is attractive to many who decide to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work settings, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses deliver direct patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

what to ask Tucson AZ nursing degree schoolsNow that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Tucson AZ or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose 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 probably going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Tucson 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 considering 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Tucson AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Tucson AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best Tucson AZ RN Program

Tucson AZ pediatric nurse holding babyDeciding on the right nursing college is potentially the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous aspects that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Tucson AZ.