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Nursing School Degree Programs Pine Bluff Arkansas

How to Select the Best RN Course near Pine Bluff AR

Pine Bluff AR Registered Nurse with Physician and PatientSelecting the best nursing program near Pine Bluff AR may seem like a challenging project, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to select a nursing program. There are many crucial additional considerations to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are available together with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Pine Bluff AR Nurse taking vital signs 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 Pine Bluff AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

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

Nursing Degree Options

Pine Bluff Arkansas RN assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option to choose from 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 receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief 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 2 year program offered by Arkansas community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 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 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.

Once 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 vary from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Schools

Pine Bluff AR student attending RN college onlineAttending nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Pine Bluff AR students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an integral component of a Pine Bluff AR medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to a number of opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, among the most meaningful are its personal and practical advantages. 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 doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This human side of the medical profession, rather than the research or analytical related facets, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work settings, such as home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses provide direct patient care, others opt to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Schools

questions to ask Pine Bluff AR nursing degree schoolsNow that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Pine Bluff AR or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.

  • 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 organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Arkansas school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Pine Bluff AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Pine Bluff AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Pine Bluff AR RN School

Pine Bluff AR nurse holding babyPicking the ideal nursing school is probably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are a number of variables that you must think about when deciding on a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community.  By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select 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 Pine Bluff AR.