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Nursing School Degree Programs Benton Arkansas

How to Choose an Accredited Nursing College near Benton AR

Benton AR Nurse with Physician and PatientSelecting the best nursing program near Benton AR may seem like a difficult project, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is local to your residence is most likely not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several essential additional things to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Benton AR Nurse taking vital signs of patient

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Benton AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. 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 common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

Benton Arkansas RN assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 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 2 year program made available by Arkansas community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth 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 desire 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 attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance 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) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Degrees

Benton Arkansas woman attending nursing school onlineEnrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Benton AR students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges

Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Benton AR or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.

  • 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 organization. Besides helping verify that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Arkansas for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many 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 attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Arkansas school licensing authority to find 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 opinions 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Benton AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Benton AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Right Benton AR Nursing School

Selecting the right nursing school is potentially the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of factors that you should think about when selecting a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community.  By using our checklist 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 hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Benton AR.