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Nursing School Degree Programs Benton Arkansas

How to Find the Best RN School near Benton AR

Benton AR Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientSearching for 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 understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least costly program or the one that is local to your house is probably not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are many essential additional things to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the roles of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Benton AR RN taking vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Benton AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, 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:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising 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 accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees

Benton Arkansas Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option 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 earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to achieve 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 generally a 2 year program made available by Arkansas community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 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 typically a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has received 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. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Degrees

Benton AR woman attending RN school onlineAttending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some Benton AR students. Regarding 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 a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household responsibilities have left you with 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.

Things to Ask Nursing Programs

Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Benton AR or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial 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 pick measures up to the field.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific 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 an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Arkansas school licensing authority to find 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 opinions are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools 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 dissatisfied 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 favorable reputation within the Benton AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Benton AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best Benton AR Nursing School

Benton Arkansas nurse holding patient chartPicking the right nursing program is perhaps the most critical step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this article, it is important that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community.  By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Benton AR.