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Nursing School Degree Programs Fayetteville Arkansas

How to Find an Accredited Nursing School near Fayetteville AR

Fayetteville AR Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientSearching for the best nursing school near Fayetteville AR may feel like a difficult project, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are many important additional things to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Fayetteville AR RN taking blood pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including Fayetteville AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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 basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees

Fayetteville Arkansas RN 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 attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to attain 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 Fayetteville Arkansas area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by Arkansas community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 commonly a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

When 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) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Degrees

Fayetteville AR student attending RN classes onlineAttending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for many Fayetteville AR students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family obligations have left you with very little 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.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an essential part of a Fayetteville AR medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, the most significant are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly choose the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related elements, is appealing to many who decide to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a number of work settings, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While many nurses deliver primary patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Schools

what to ask Fayetteville AR nursing training collegesOnce you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Fayetteville AR or online, you can use the following pointers 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 discussed, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.

  • 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 make sure that you get a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Arkansas for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Arkansas school licensing authority to determine 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 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 displeased 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 healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites 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

Fayetteville AR nurse holding newbornPicking the right nursing school is probably the most critical step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are many aspects that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding 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 ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Fayetteville AR.