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Nursing School Degree Programs North Little Rock Arkansas

How to Enroll In the Best RN Course near North Little Rock AR

North Little Rock AR RN with Doctor and PatientSearching for the best nursing college near North Little Rock AR may feel like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you don't know 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 essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional aspects to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

North Little Rock AR RN taking blood pressure of patient

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, 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. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex 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 routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

North Little Rock Arkansas Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There are several degree options 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 as little as two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six 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 generally a two year program made available by Arkansas community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly 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 might desire to advance 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 typically a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

When 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) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Programs

North Little Rock AR student attending RN college onlineAttending nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some North Little Rock AR students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of 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 little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an important component of a North Little Rock AR medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, the most significant are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often go into the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the health profession, rather than the analytical or research related elements, is appealing to many who elect to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work environments, including home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses deliver direct patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Schools

what to ask North Little Rock AR nursing training collegesNow that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near North Little Rock AR or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout 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 earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in securing 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific 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 provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Arkansas school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the North Little Rock AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with North Little Rock AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Best North Little Rock AR RN School

North Little Rock AR nurse holding babyEnrolling in the ideal nursing program is arguably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various aspects that you should consider when selecting a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is important that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in North Little Rock AR.