How to Enroll In the Right Nursing Degree Program near Hot Springs National Park AR
Searching for the right nursing school near Hot Springs National Park AR may seem like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you don't know 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 appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many future students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is local to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are many essential additional aspects to explore before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree options that are offered along with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Hot Springs National Park AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option available to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries 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 generally a two year program made available by Arkansas community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 employment market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some Hot Springs National Park AR students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Why Enter the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an indispensable component of a Hot Springs National Park AR medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, among the most significant are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently go into the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This human side of the health profession, rather than the analytical or research related aspects, is appealing to many who decide to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work settings, including nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses provide primary patient care, others elect to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Hot Springs National Park AR or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific 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 delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Arkansas school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Hot Springs National Park AR medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Hot Springs National Park AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Hot Springs National Park AR Nursing Program
Enrolling in the ideal nursing program is probably the most important step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous variables that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this content, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Hot Springs National Park AR.