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Nursing School Degree Programs Pine Bluff Arkansas

How to Find an Accredited Nursing Course near Pine Bluff AR

Pine Bluff AR Nurse with Doctor and PatientSelecting the right nursing college near Pine Bluff AR may seem like a complex undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are several key additional things to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are offered along with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Pine Bluff AR Nurse taking vital signs of patient

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Pine Bluff AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced 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 administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees

Pine Bluff Arkansas RN assisting surgeon

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 obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Pine Bluff 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 job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive 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 previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 generally a two year program after acquiring 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 attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Additional 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 mandates.

Nursing Online Schools

Pine Bluff AR woman attending RN college onlineEnrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend classes for many Pine Bluff AR students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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. And so if your job and household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an integral part of a Pine Bluff AR medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, among the most meaningful are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often go into the profession due to a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related facets, is attractive to many who elect to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work settings, including home care facilities, doctor'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. Although many nurses deliver primary patient care, others opt to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

what to ask Pine Bluff AR nursing training schoolsNow that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Pine Bluff AR or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.

  • 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. Aside from helping verify that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often 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 delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Arkansas school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Pine Bluff 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Pine Bluff AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Pine Bluff AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Best Pine Bluff AR Nursing Program

Pine Bluff AR RN holding babyPicking the right nursing college is arguably the most crucial step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous aspects that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community.  By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Pine Bluff AR.