How to Find the Best RN College near Fayetteville AR
Locating the right nursing school near Fayetteville AR may seem like a challenging undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many crucial additional aspects to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are available as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Fayetteville AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option available 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 two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available 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 prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 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 may 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 achieving 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 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 change from state to state, so make sure to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for many Fayetteville AR students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Fayetteville AR or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to 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 an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards 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 looking into. 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 call some Fayetteville 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Fayetteville AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Fayetteville AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Fayetteville AR RN Program
Picking the right nursing college is perhaps the most critical step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you must consider when deciding on a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is essential that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Fayetteville AR.