How to Enroll In an Accredited RN Program near North Little Rock AR
Finding the right nursing school near North Little Rock AR may seem like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional aspects to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as North Little Rock AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to aid doctors in the care 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:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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 Degree Options
There are several degree options available 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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations 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 normally a 2 year program made available by Arkansas community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually 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 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 normally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has acquired 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. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend school for some North Little Rock AR students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional 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 such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near North Little Rock AR or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Arkansas for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Arkansas school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 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 displeased 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 North Little Rock AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. 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 Right North Little Rock AR Nursing School
Selecting the ideal nursing degree program is potentially the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous aspects that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this article, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using 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 ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in North Little Rock AR.