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Nursing School Degree Programs Little Rock Arkansas

How to Find the Right RN Course near Little Rock AR

Little Rock AR RN with Doctor and PatientSearching for the right nursing program near Little Rock AR may seem like a challenging endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is closest to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are several important additional considerations to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree options that are available as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Little Rock AR RN taking blood pressure of patient

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Little Rock AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees

Little Rock Arkansas Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations 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 normally a two year program made available by Arkansas community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 employment market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally 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.

When 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) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Classes

Little Rock AR student attending nursing college onlineAttending nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for many Little Rock AR students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an important component of a Little Rock AR medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, among the most meaningful are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often go into the profession due to a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related aspects, is attractive to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a variety of work environments, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses deliver personal patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Schools

questions to ask Little Rock AR nursing degree collegesNow that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Little Rock AR or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see 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. Besides helping verify that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. 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 schools you are looking at 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 Little Rock AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
  • 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 as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Little Rock AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best Little Rock AR Nursing Program

Little Rock AR pediatric nurse holding babySelecting the ideal nursing school is probably the most important step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are various factors that you must take into account when selecting a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community.  By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Little Rock AR.