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Nursing School Degree Programs Hot Springs Arkansas

How to Select an Accredited Nursing Training Program near Hot Springs AR

Hot Springs AR Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientLocating the best nursing school near Hot Springs AR may seem like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are several key additional considerations to explore before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are available as well as what the functions of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Hot Springs AR RN taking vital signs of patient

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Hot Springs AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Hot Springs Arkansas Registered 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 attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six 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 two year program made available by Arkansas community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a four 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 might want 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 commonly a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus 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. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Schools

Hot Springs Arkansas student attending nursing college onlineAttending nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for some Hot Springs AR students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family obligations 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 hectic schedule.

What to Ask Nursing Programs

Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Hot Springs AR or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably 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 choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes 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 required 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 attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact 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 programs 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 favorable reputation within the Hot Springs AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific 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 assist with the placement of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Hot Springs AR Nursing Program

Enrolling in the ideal nursing college is arguably the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are numerous aspects that you should consider when choosing a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is essential that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Hot Springs AR.