How to Choose the Best Nursing College near Hot Springs AR
Locating the right nursing program near Hot Springs AR may feel like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are various important additional considerations to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including Hot Springs AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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 Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a nurse. And 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 just two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Hot Springs Arkansas area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by Arkansas community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies 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 wish 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 typically a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate 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. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for many Hot Springs AR students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Why Nursing?Nurses are an integral part of a Hot Springs AR medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, such as 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 rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently go into the profession due to 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 healthcare profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who decide to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a number of work environments, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses deliver personal patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Hot Springs AR or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain 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 excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, check with the Arkansas school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 colleges you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete 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 favorable reputation within the Hot Springs AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out 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.
Choose the Right Hot Springs AR RN School
Picking the right nursing college is perhaps the most important step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of aspects that you should take into account when choosing a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Hot Springs AR.