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Nursing School Degree Programs Fayetteville Arkansas

How to Choose an Accredited RN College near Fayetteville AR

Fayetteville AR Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientChoosing the right nursing program near Fayetteville AR may feel like a complicated undertaking, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your residence is no doubt not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are several important additional factors to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Fayetteville AR RN taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Fayetteville AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Overseeing 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), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver 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 to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six 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 normally a 2 year program offered by Arkansas community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 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 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has attained 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. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Schools

Fayetteville AR woman attending nursing classes onlineEnrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for some Fayetteville AR students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can 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. Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an important component of a Fayetteville AR medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, among the most significant are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly go into the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This human side of the medical profession, rather than the analytical or research related aspects, is attractive to many who decide to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work environments, including nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specialties, including addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While most nurses deliver personal patient care, others elect to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Schools

what to ask Fayetteville AR nursing degree collegesOnce you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Fayetteville AR or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. 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 opinions are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools you are looking at 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 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Fayetteville AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Fayetteville AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Fayetteville AR RN School

Fayetteville AR RN holding babyEnrolling in the right nursing college is probably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are various factors that you should take into account when choosing a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is essential that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community.  By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Fayetteville AR.