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Nursing School Degree Programs Hot Springs Arkansas

How to Select the Right Nursing Training Program near Hot Springs AR

Hot Springs AR Nurse with Physician and PatientFinding the right nursing program near Hot Springs AR may feel like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of important additional things to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are offered along with what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Hot Springs AR RN taking blood pressure of woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Hot Springs AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced 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 administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Hot Springs Arkansas Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There are several degree options available 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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions 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 2 year program made available by Arkansas community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 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 want to advance 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 attaining 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 earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Classes

Hot Springs AR woman 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 attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many Hot Springs AR students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an integral component of a Hot Springs AR medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, among the most meaningful are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often go into the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related aspects, is appealing to many who decide to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a variety of work settings, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses deliver direct patient care, others elect to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

questions to ask Hot Springs AR nursing degree programsOnce you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Hot Springs AR or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school along with the expense 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 evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.

  • 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 agency. Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help 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 differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Arkansas school licensing authority to check out 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 judgments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges you are considering 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 important 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 AR medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Hot Springs AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Hot Springs AR Nursing School

Hot Springs AR nurse holding babyDeciding on the right nursing college is perhaps the most important first step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed in this article, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community.  By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Hot Springs AR.