Home >> Arizona >> Tucson >> Rn Programs


Nursing School Degree Programs Tucson Arizona

How to Find the Right Nursing Course near Tucson AZ

Tucson AZ Nurse with Doctor and PatientSearching for the best nursing program near Tucson AZ may feel like a challenging endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your residence is no doubt not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional aspects to investigate 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 together with what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Tucson AZ Nurse taking blood pressure of woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as Tucson AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Keeping 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 often 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

Tucson Arizona Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees available 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Tucson Arizona area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 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 want 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 two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Degrees

Tucson AZ woman attending RN classes onlineAttending nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for some Tucson AZ students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an indispensable part of a Tucson AZ medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, the most meaningful are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often choose the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the healthcare profession, rather than the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who elect to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a number of work settings, including nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses deliver personal patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

questions to ask Tucson AZ nursing degree schoolsNow that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Tucson AZ or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors 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 evaluate how your selection compares 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. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided 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 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 enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Tucson 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 complete 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 superb reputation within the Tucson AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Tucson AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Tucson AZ Nursing School

Tucson AZ pediatric nurse holding newbornSelecting the right nursing college is arguably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous factors that you must think about when picking a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed in this article, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Tucson AZ.