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Nursing School Degree Programs Benton Arkansas

How to Choose the Right RN Degree Program near Benton AR

Benton AR Nurse with Doctor and PatientChoosing the right nursing school near Benton AR may seem like a complicated undertaking, particularly 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 acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is local to your home is no doubt not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are several essential additional considerations to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Benton AR Nurse taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as Benton AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

Benton Arkansas Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees 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 obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain 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 commonly a 2 year program made available by Arkansas community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a four 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 might wish to progress 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 typically a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has acquired 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 can vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Programs

Benton Arkansas woman attending RN classes onlineAttending nursing schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for some Benton AR students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Schools

Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Benton AR or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Arkansas for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified 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 outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Arkansas school licensing authority to determine 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential 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 obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out 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 Right Benton AR RN Program

Deciding on the ideal nursing college is arguably the most critical phase to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are various factors that you should take into account when selecting a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Benton AR.