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Nursing School Degree Programs Little Rock Arkansas

How to Pick the Right RN Degree Program near Little Rock AR

Little Rock AR RN with Doctor and PatientLocating the right nursing college near Little Rock AR may seem like a difficult endeavor, 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 receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are various crucial additional things to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are available as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Little Rock AR Nurse taking vital signs of patient

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Little Rock AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced 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 deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

Little Rock Arkansas Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Little Rock Arkansas area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by Arkansas community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive 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 previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 normally a 2 year program after acquiring 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 received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Classes

Little Rock AR student attending nursing classes onlineAttending nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for some Little Rock AR students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can 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. And so if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Little Rock AR or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Arkansas school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Little Rock 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 unhappy 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 superb reputation within the Little Rock AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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 requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Little Rock AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Right Little Rock AR Nursing School

Little Rock Arkansas nurse holding medical chartEnrolling in the right nursing college is potentially the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are various variables that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community.  By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Little Rock AR.