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Nursing School Degree Programs Benton Arkansas

How to Pick the Right Nursing Degree Program near Benton AR

Benton AR Registered Nurse with Physician and PatientSelecting the right nursing school near Benton AR may feel like a difficult undertaking, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is local to your residence is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are many key additional aspects to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree alternatives that are available together with what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Benton AR Nurse taking blood pressure of woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Benton AR hospitals, private 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 be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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 common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Benton Arkansas Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees to choose from 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 just 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Benton Arkansas area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by Arkansas community colleges. It readies 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 higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has earned 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. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Schools

Benton Arkansas student attending RN school onlineEnrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more popular way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many Benton AR students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many 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 responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

What to Ask Nursing Colleges

Once you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Benton AR or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably 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 selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you get a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Arkansas for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Arkansas school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Benton AR 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Benton AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Benton AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Best Benton AR Nursing Program

Choosing the right nursing college is potentially the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted in 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 healthcare community.  By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Benton AR.