How to Find the Right Nursing College near Conway AR
Searching for the best nursing school near Conway AR may feel like a difficult project, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is local to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are several essential additional aspects to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Conway AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function 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 area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing 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 responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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
There are several degree options 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 as little as 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Conway Arkansas area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by Arkansas community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 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 normally a two 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.
After 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) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more preferred way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for many Conway AR students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily 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. And so if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Conway AR or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Arkansas for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed 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 exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online 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, get in touch with the Arkansas school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 schools 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 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 Conway AR medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check 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 RN Program
Enrolling in the right nursing school is perhaps the most critical step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of factors that you should take into account when selecting a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is important that you choose a nursing school 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 develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate 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.