How to Enroll In the Right Nursing College near Fayetteville AR
Finding the best nursing college near Fayetteville AR may feel like a complex undertaking, 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 need to acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of important additional aspects to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Fayetteville AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to aid doctors in the treatment 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. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating 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 generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options 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 earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief 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 normally a 2 year program offered by Arkansas community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 employment market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for some Fayetteville AR students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Why Choose the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an important part of a Fayetteville AR medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to many opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, the most significant are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession out of a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the medical profession, rather than the analytical or research related elements, is appealing to many who choose to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work environments, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, including addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses provide direct patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Fayetteville AR or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Arkansas for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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 specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Arkansas school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Fayetteville 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 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Fayetteville AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Fayetteville AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Fayetteville AR Nursing School
Choosing the right nursing degree program is arguably the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous factors that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed within this content, it is important that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Fayetteville AR.