Home >> Arkansas >> Jonesboro >> How To Become An Rn


Nursing School Degree Programs Jonesboro Arkansas

How to Find an Accredited Nursing Degree Program near Jonesboro AR

Jonesboro AR RN with Doctor and PatientSearching for the right nursing college near Jonesboro AR may seem like a difficult endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various key additional aspects to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Jonesboro AR Nurse taking vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Jonesboro AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly 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

Jonesboro Arkansas Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There are several degree options available to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Jonesboro Arkansas area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by Arkansas community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 generally a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has received 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 fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Classes

Jonesboro AR student attending nursing classes onlineEnrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more popular way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for many Jonesboro AR students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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. Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward 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.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an indispensable component of a Jonesboro AR medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to many opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, the most meaningful are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often go into the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the health profession, rather than the research or analytical related aspects, is attractive to many who decide to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses deliver direct patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

questions to ask Jonesboro AR nursing training schoolsNow that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Jonesboro AR or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors 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 see how your pick compares to the other schools.

  • 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Arkansas for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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. Certain states require a certain 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 provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Arkansas school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Jonesboro AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Jonesboro AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Best Jonesboro AR RN Program

Jonesboro AR RN holding newbornDeciding on the right nursing college is potentially the most important phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are various variables that you should consider when deciding on a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this content, it is critical that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Jonesboro AR.