How to Pick the Right Nursing College near Conway AR
Choosing the right nursing school near Conway AR may feel like a formidable project, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various crucial additional things to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree options that are available together with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Conway AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to help 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 along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
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 just two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Conway Arkansas area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Arkansas community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 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 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 commonly a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers 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, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend classes for some Conway AR students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Conway AR or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified 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 excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the Arkansas school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Conway 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 considering 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 favorable reputation within the Conway AR medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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 also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Conway AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Conway AR RN Program
Choosing the ideal nursing degree program is arguably the most important phase to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many factors that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed within this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist 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 drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Conway AR.