Home >> Arkansas >> Hot Springs >> How To Become An Rn


Nursing School Degree Programs Hot Springs Arkansas

How to Pick an Accredited RN Program near Hot Springs AR

Hot Springs AR Nurse with Physician and PatientFinding the best nursing college near Hot Springs AR may feel like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you don't know 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 vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are many important additional considerations to check out before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Hot Springs AR RN taking blood pressure of woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Hot Springs AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Keeping health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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

Hot Springs Arkansas Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option to choose from 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 obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Hot Springs Arkansas area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by Arkansas community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain 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 four year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 advance 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 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) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Classes

Hot Springs AR student attending nursing classes onlineAttending nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for many Hot Springs AR students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an essential part of a Hot Springs AR medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, the most significant are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly go into the profession due to a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This human side of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related aspects, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work environments, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses deliver primary patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges

questions to ask Hot Springs AR nursing training schoolsOnce you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Hot Springs AR or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the field.

  • 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Arkansas for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many 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 enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Arkansas school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Hot Springs 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 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 Hot Springs AR medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Hot Springs AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best Hot Springs AR Nursing School

Hot Springs AR pediatric nurse holding babyEnrolling in the ideal nursing program is potentially the most important step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are many factors that you should consider when selecting a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community.  By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick 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 AR.