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Nursing School Degree Programs Hot Springs National Park Arkansas

How to Select the Best RN College near Hot Springs National Park AR

Hot Springs National Park AR Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientSearching for the best nursing program near Hot Springs National Park AR may feel like a challenging endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is closest to your residence is no doubt not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of important additional considerations to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are available together with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Hot Springs National Park AR RN taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Hot Springs National Park AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically 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 Degrees

Hot Springs National Park Arkansas Nurse assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees available 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 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Hot Springs National Park Arkansas area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by Arkansas community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance 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) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Schools

Hot Springs National Park AR student attending nursing classes onlineAttending nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for some Hot Springs National Park AR students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an indispensable part of a Hot Springs National Park AR medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, the most meaningful are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a medical facility or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often go into the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the healthcare profession, rather than the analytical or research related facets, is attractive to many who decide to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work settings, including nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses provide direct patient care, others opt to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Schools

what to ask Hot Springs National Park AR nursing training collegesNow that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Hot Springs National Park AR or online, you can utilize 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 choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, 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. Besides helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Arkansas for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific 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 delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Arkansas school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Hot Springs National Park AR healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Hot Springs National Park AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Hot Springs National Park AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Right Hot Springs National Park AR RN School

Hot Springs National Park AR RN holding babyDeciding on the ideal nursing program is potentially the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous 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 stressed within this content, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community.  By utilizing our list 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 right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Hot Springs National Park AR.