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Nursing School Degree Programs Fayetteville Arkansas

How to Enroll In an Accredited Nursing College near Fayetteville AR

Fayetteville AR Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientLocating the right nursing college near Fayetteville AR may seem like a difficult project, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many future students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are several crucial additional aspects to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are available along with what the roles of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Fayetteville AR Nurse taking blood pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Fayetteville AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic 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 specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced 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 basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Fayetteville Arkansas Nurse assisting surgeon

There are several degree options offered 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Fayetteville Arkansas area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly 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 use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. 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 mandates.

Nursing Online Programs

Fayetteville Arkansas woman attending RN college onlineAttending nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular 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 certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend college for some Fayetteville AR students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many 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 commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

Once you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Fayetteville AR or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.

  • 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 ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Arkansas for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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. Certain 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 preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with 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 opinions are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Fayetteville AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many 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 help with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Best Fayetteville AR RN School

Choosing the right nursing school is perhaps the most important step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community.  By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Fayetteville AR.