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Nursing School Degree Programs Fayetteville Arkansas

How to Pick the Best Nursing Degree Program near Fayetteville AR

Fayetteville AR Registered Nurse with Physician and PatientLocating the right nursing college near Fayetteville AR may feel like a formidable project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are many key additional things to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are available together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Fayetteville AR RN taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Fayetteville AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex 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 deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Fayetteville Arkansas Nurse 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 earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Fayetteville Arkansas area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by Arkansas community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four 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 desire 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 usually a two year program after achieving 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 attained 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. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Classes

Fayetteville Arkansas student attending nursing college onlineEnrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many Fayetteville AR students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Once you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Fayetteville AR or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up 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 confirm that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Arkansas for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Arkansas school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Fayetteville AR healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 unhappy 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 superb reputation within the Fayetteville AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Fayetteville AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Best Fayetteville AR Nursing School

Choosing the right nursing college is arguably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous variables that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community.  By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Fayetteville AR.