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Nursing School Degree Programs Fayetteville Arkansas

How to Find the Best RN Course near Fayetteville AR

Fayetteville AR RN with Physician and PatientFinding the right nursing college near Fayetteville AR may seem like a complex project, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are many essential additional considerations to check out before you decide 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 roles of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Fayetteville AR Nurse taking blood pressure of patient

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Fayetteville AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function 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 functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. 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 routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

Fayetteville Arkansas Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option to choose from 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 acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Fayetteville Arkansas area.

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

Once a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Degrees

Fayetteville Arkansas woman attending nursing college onlineAttending nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for many Fayetteville AR students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily 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. So if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Fayetteville AR or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you receive 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 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Arkansas school licensing authority to determine 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 judgments 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased 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 relationships to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Fayetteville AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Fayetteville AR RN School

Choosing the ideal nursing degree program is arguably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you should think about when choosing a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community.  By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Fayetteville AR.