How to Choose a Nursing School near Sierra Vista Arizona
Choosing the right nursing program near Sierra Vista AZ may feel like a difficult project, especially if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are many key additional things to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Sierra Vista AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing 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), for instance, 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 common illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Sierra Vista AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after achieving 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 earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are generally two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it needs to be Arizona approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at Sierra Vista AZ area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Sierra Vista AZ or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start 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 necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Sierra Vista AZ for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Arizona school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Sierra Vista 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 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 unhappy 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 favorable reputation within the Sierra Vista AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Sierra Vista AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend college for many Sierra Vista AZ students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Sierra Vista AZ?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Sierra Vista Arizona area. If that is the case, then the following information may prove to be both educational and useful regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Sierra Vista, Arizona
Sierra Vista is a city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States. As of the 2010 census the population of the city was 43,888. The city is part of the Sierra Vista-Douglas Metropolitan Area, with a 2010 population of 131,346. Fort Huachuca, a U.S. Army post, is located in the northwest part of the city.
As evidenced by several neolithic sites and known archeological sites, Paleo-Indians have been in southern Arizona from at least 12,000 years ago. It was the home to a large Sobaipuri, Pueblo near Fairbanks which had several smaller pueblos and settlements throughout the valley, a Spanish Fort, Presidio Santa Cruz de Terrenate  between modern Huachuca City, Whetstone and Tombstone, on the Western bank of the San Pedro River. along with sparse Spanish settlers supporting the route to Tucson's Mission San Xavier del Bac and Presidio San Agustín del Tucsón.
Like most of Cochise County it was part of the Gadsden Purchase. At the end of the Apache Wars, with the protection of Fort Huachuca and the completion of the Southern Pacific and El Paso & Southwestern railroads, the San Pedro Valley began to populated by American Settlers.
Pick the Right Nursing College near Sierra Vista AZ
Enrolling in the right registered nursing school is arguably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are various factors that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using 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 proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Sierra Vista AZ.
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