Home >> Arkansas >> Conway >> Nursing Programs


Nursing School Degree Programs Conway Arkansas

How to Find the Right Nursing Degree Program near Conway AR

Conway AR Nurse with Doctor and PatientFinding the right nursing college near Conway AR may seem like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your home is probably not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are many key additional things to explore before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Conway AR RN taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Conway AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly 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

Conway Arkansas Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option available to become a nurse. And in order 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 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Conway Arkansas area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by Arkansas community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 job 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 concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

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

Nursing Online Classes

Conway AR student attending nursing classes onlineEnrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend college for many Conway AR students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household commitments have left you with 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.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an essential part of a Conway AR medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, among the most meaningful are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often go into the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This human aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related facets, is appealing to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a number of work settings, such as home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses provide personal patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Programs

what to ask Conway AR nursing degree schoolsNow that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Conway AR or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the price 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 only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.

  • 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 organization. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Arkansas for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Arkansas school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Conway 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 colleges 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Conway AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts 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. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Conway AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Conway AR Nursing School

Conway AR nurse holding babyDeciding on the right nursing school is perhaps the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are many factors that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community.  By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Conway AR.