How to Enroll In an Accredited RN Program near Sherwood AR
Locating the right nursing school near Sherwood AR may seem like a complex project, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is local to your house is most likely not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of key additional considerations to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are offered along with what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Sherwood AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing 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 advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Sherwood Arkansas area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by Arkansas community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a four 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 want to progress 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 two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate 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. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for many Sherwood AR students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more 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 work and family commitments have left you with 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.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Sherwood AR or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary 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 along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered 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 needed 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 essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Arkansas school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Sherwood 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 finish 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 favorable reputation within the Sherwood AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Sherwood AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Sherwood AR Nursing Program
Picking the ideal nursing degree program is arguably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of variables that you must consider when picking a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list 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 Sherwood AR.