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Nursing School Degree Programs Hot Springs Arkansas

How to Select an Accredited Nursing Course near Hot Springs AR

Hot Springs AR Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientLocating the best nursing school near Hot Springs AR may feel like a complicated endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional things to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are available as well as what the roles of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Hot Springs AR RN taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Hot Springs AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

Hot Springs Arkansas Nurse assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees 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 obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six 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 generally a two year program offered by Arkansas community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 typically a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has obtained 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 change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Classes

Hot Springs Arkansas student attending RN classes onlineAttending nursing schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for some Hot Springs AR students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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. Therefore if your work 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 busy schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Hot Springs AR or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Arkansas for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Arkansas school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 considering 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Hot Springs AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain 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 mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Hot Springs AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Hot Springs AR RN Program

Deciding on the right nursing college is probably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many variables that you should take into account when selecting a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community.  By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Hot Springs AR.