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Nursing School Degree Programs Benton Arkansas

How to Choose the Right RN College near Benton AR

Benton AR RN with Doctor and PatientLocating the best nursing college near Benton AR may feel like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are various key additional aspects to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are offered along with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Benton AR RN taking blood pressure of woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Benton AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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 routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees

Benton Arkansas Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option available 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 earn 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 brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Benton Arkansas area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by Arkansas community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Arkansas 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 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 normally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate 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 change from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Classes

Benton AR woman attending RN school onlineAttending nursing programs online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend college for many Benton AR students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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 household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an integral part of a Benton AR medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, among the most significant are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often choose the profession out of a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, rather than the analytical or research related facets, is attractive to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work settings, including nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, including addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses deliver direct patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

questions to ask Benton AR nursing training programsOnce you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Benton AR or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.

  • 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 organization. Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Arkansas 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain 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 provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Arkansas school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 programs you are looking at 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 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Benton AR medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Benton AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Best Benton AR RN Program

Benton AR RN holding babyPicking the right nursing program is potentially the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of aspects that you should consider when selecting a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is critical that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Benton AR.