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Nursing School Degree Programs Jonesboro Arkansas

How to Enroll In the Best RN School near Jonesboro AR

Jonesboro AR RN with Doctor and PatientSelecting the right nursing program near Jonesboro AR may seem like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are various important additional things to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the jobs 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 care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Jonesboro AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the duties 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
  • Keeping 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 normally 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 Degrees

Jonesboro Arkansas RN assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option available 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 earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Jonesboro Arkansas area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by Arkansas community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually 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 may want to progress 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 normally a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has earned 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. Various 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 Classes

Jonesboro AR woman attending nursing classes onlineEnrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for some Jonesboro AR students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an integral part of a Jonesboro AR medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to a number of opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, the most meaningful are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility 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 instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This human aspect of the health profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related aspects, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work environments, including nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While many nurses deliver direct patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Colleges

questions to ask Jonesboro AR nursing training schoolsNow that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Jonesboro AR or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other programs.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Arkansas for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ 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. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Arkansas school licensing authority to determine 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 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 dissatisfied 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 superb reputation within the Jonesboro AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Jonesboro AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best Jonesboro AR Nursing School

Jonesboro AR pediatric nurse holding newbornSelecting the ideal nursing college is perhaps the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of variables that you should take into account when choosing a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this article, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community.  By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Jonesboro AR.