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Nursing School Degree Programs Benton Arkansas

How to Enroll In an Accredited RN Program near Benton AR

Benton AR RN with Doctor and PatientFinding the best nursing school near Benton AR may seem like a complex endeavor, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are various crucial additional considerations to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are available as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Benton AR RN taking blood pressure of woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Benton AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. 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 is more than one degree option to choose from to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions 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 offered by Arkansas community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 generally 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 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. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Schools

Benton Arkansas student attending RN classes onlineEnrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend classes for some Benton AR students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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 household responsibilities have left you with very little 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 busy schedule.

What to Ask Nursing Programs

Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Benton AR or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Arkansas for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, 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 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 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 favorable reputation within the Benton AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Benton AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Benton AR RN Program

Deciding on the right nursing school is probably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of aspects that you should take into account when choosing a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community.  By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Benton AR.