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Nursing School Degree Programs Hot Springs Arkansas

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

Hot Springs AR Nurse with Physician and PatientFinding the best nursing program near Hot Springs AR may seem like a complex project, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are many essential additional factors to explore before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Hot Springs AR RN taking blood pressure of patient

Registered nurses are the largest 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 basic duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Keeping health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally 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 Degrees Available

Hot Springs Arkansas Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option 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 receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Hot Springs Arkansas area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly 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 use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive 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 desire to progress 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 obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After 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) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Classes

Hot Springs Arkansas woman attending nursing school onlineEnrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for some Hot Springs AR students. Pertaining to tuition, some 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 a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Hot Springs AR or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in 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 working.
  • Reputation. Check 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 too. Additionally, contact the Arkansas school licensing authority to find 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Hot Springs AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Hot Springs AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Right Hot Springs AR Nursing School

Selecting the ideal nursing program is potentially the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various variables that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Hot Springs AR.