How to Select the Right RN School near Jonesboro AR
Finding the best nursing program near Jonesboro AR may seem like a challenging endeavor, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many future students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your residence is no doubt not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are various important additional factors to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Jonesboro AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to help doctors in the care 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 few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically 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 Degree Options
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a nurse. And 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 obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Jonesboro Arkansas area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available 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 ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 commonly a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate 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) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Jonesboro 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 minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many 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 household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Jonesboro AR or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, 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 so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Arkansas for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified 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 provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Arkansas school licensing authority to find 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Jonesboro AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various 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 help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Jonesboro AR RN Program
Picking the ideal nursing degree program is potentially the most important phase to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of factors that you must think about when choosing a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Jonesboro AR.