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Nursing School Degree Programs Benton Arkansas

How to Find the Best RN College near Benton AR

Benton AR RN with Doctor and PatientFinding the best nursing school near Benton AR may feel like a formidable undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are many key additional aspects to explore before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are available together with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Benton AR Nurse taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Benton AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to support 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 along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

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

Nursing Degrees Available

Benton Arkansas RN assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short 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 commonly a 2 year program made available by Arkansas community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 normally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

Once 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) in order to become licensed. Various other 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 Programs

Benton AR woman attending RN classes onlineAttending nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific 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 convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some Benton AR students. Concerning 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 economical. 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 family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an integral component of a Benton AR medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often go into the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related aspects, is appealing to many who decide to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work environments, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While many nurses provide personal patient care, others elect to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Schools

what to ask Benton AR nursing degree programsNow that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and if 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 are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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. In addition to helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Arkansas for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Arkansas school licensing authority to determine 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 colleges 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important 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 help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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 prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Benton AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Right Benton AR Nursing Program

Benton AR nurse holding babyPicking the ideal nursing degree program is perhaps the most critical step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many variables that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community.  By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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.