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Nursing School Degree Programs North Little Rock Arkansas

How to Pick an Accredited RN College near North Little Rock AR

North Little Rock AR Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientLocating the best nursing school near North Little Rock AR may feel like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your house is most likely not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional considerations to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are available as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

North Little Rock AR Nurse taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as North Little Rock AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

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

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

Nursing Degrees Available

North Little Rock Arkansas Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option available 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 attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the North 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 preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 employment market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Classes

North Little Rock Arkansas woman attending nursing school onlineEnrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more favored way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend college for many North Little Rock AR students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family commitments 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 active schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near North Little Rock AR or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other programs.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Arkansas for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ 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. Certain 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 enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Arkansas school licensing authority to find out 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 programs you are considering 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative 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 healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with North Little Rock AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Right North Little Rock AR Nursing Program

Selecting the right nursing school is potentially the most critical first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of factors that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is important that you pick 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 produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final 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.