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Nursing School Degree Programs North Little Rock Arkansas

How to Pick the Best Nursing Course near North Little Rock AR

North Little Rock AR Nurse with Physician and PatientLocating the right nursing program near North Little Rock AR may seem like a complex endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, 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 study and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are many crucial additional factors to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree options that are available along with what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

North Little Rock AR RN taking blood pressure of patient

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely North Little Rock AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular 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:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

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

Nursing Degrees

North Little Rock Arkansas Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There are several degree options to choose from to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the North Little Rock Arkansas area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by Arkansas community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 employment market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after attaining 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 earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Schools

North Little Rock Arkansas woman attending nursing college onlineEnrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more in demand way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for many North Little Rock AR students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Things to Ask Nursing Schools

Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near North Little Rock AR or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.

  • 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 ensure that you get a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Arkansas for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Arkansas school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some North Little Rock AR healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 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 North Little Rock AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with North Little Rock AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Best North Little Rock AR Nursing School

Enrolling in the right nursing program is arguably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of factors that you must consider when deciding on a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community.  By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in North Little Rock AR.