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Nursing School Degree Programs Hot Springs Arkansas

How to Choose an Accredited RN College near Hot Springs AR

Hot Springs AR Registered Nurse with Physician and PatientSearching for the right nursing school near Hot Springs AR may feel like a formidable project, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is local to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are various important additional considerations to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are offered along with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Hot Springs AR Nurse taking vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Hot Springs AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing 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), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Hot Springs Arkansas Nurse assisting surgeon

There are several degree options offered 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 earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations 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 normally a two year program offered by Arkansas community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth 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 usually a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Programs

Hot Springs AR student attending RN college onlineAttending nursing programs online is growing into a more in demand way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted 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 time to attend college for some Hot Springs AR students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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 commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an integral component of a Hot Springs AR medical team, and for a large 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 meaningful are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with physicians. 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 extended care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the medical profession, rather than the research or analytical related elements, is appealing to many who decide to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a number of work settings, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses provide personal patient care, others choose to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Schools

questions to ask Hot Springs AR nursing training collegesOnce you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Hot Springs AR or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered 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. Many states require a certain 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 provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, 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 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Hot Springs AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get 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. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Hot Springs AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Hot Springs AR Nursing Program

Hot Springs AR nurse holding newbornDeciding on the ideal nursing degree program is probably the most crucial step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you must take into account when picking a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized within 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 medical community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate 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.