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Nursing School Degree Programs Jonesboro Arkansas

How to Choose the Best RN School near Jonesboro AR

Jonesboro AR Nurse with Physician and PatientSelecting the best nursing college near Jonesboro AR may seem like a formidable undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly college or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many important additional things to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree options that are available along with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Jonesboro AR RN taking vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as Jonesboro AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Performing 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 complex 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 provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

Jonesboro Arkansas Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six 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 two year program made available by Arkansas community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 typically a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

Once 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) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to check with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Classes

Jonesboro AR student attending nursing school onlineAttending nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for some Jonesboro AR students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an essential part of a Jonesboro AR medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to a number of opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, the most notable are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently choose the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the health profession, rather than the analytical or research related aspects, is appealing to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a variety of work settings, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses provide personal patient care, others choose to be educators, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Programs

questions to ask Jonesboro AR nursing degree schoolsOnce you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Jonesboro AR or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available 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 required 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 essential that the school you are attending not only delivers 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. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Arkansas school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 schools you are looking at 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Jonesboro AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Jonesboro AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Jonesboro AR RN School

Jonesboro AR RN holding babyEnrolling in the right nursing college is perhaps the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is critical that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community.  By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Jonesboro AR.