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Nursing School Degree Programs Fayetteville Arkansas

How to Select the Best Nursing Program near Fayetteville AR

Fayetteville AR RN with Doctor and PatientFinding the best nursing school near Fayetteville AR may feel like a formidable endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training 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. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is local to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional things to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are available as well as what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Fayetteville AR RN taking vital signs of patient

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Fayetteville AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

Fayetteville Arkansas RN assisting surgeon

There are several degree options to choose from to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in just 2 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 offered to aspiring students in the Fayetteville Arkansas area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by Arkansas community colleges. It preps 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) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 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 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 commonly a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has acquired 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. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Programs

Fayetteville AR woman attending RN school onlineAttending nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Fayetteville AR students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward 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 Colleges

Once 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 guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you receive an excellent 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 requirements for registered nurses differ 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. Some states require a specified 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 an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Arkansas school licensing authority to find 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 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Fayetteville AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Fayetteville AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Right Fayetteville AR Nursing Program

Fayetteville Arkansas nurse holding patient chartEnrolling in the ideal nursing college is potentially the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of variables that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final 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.