How to Choose an Accredited RN Degree Program near Jonesboro AR
Finding the right nursing college near Jonesboro AR may feel like a formidable project, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are a number of important additional things to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are offered along with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as Jonesboro AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating 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), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and generally 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
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 obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Jonesboro Arkansas area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by Arkansas community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 commonly a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for many Jonesboro AR students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental 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. Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Jonesboro AR or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Arkansas school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Jonesboro AR healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges 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 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 Jonesboro AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Jonesboro AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Jonesboro AR RN School
Choosing the right nursing school is perhaps the most important first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you must take into account when choosing a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is critical that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional 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 select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Jonesboro AR.