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Nursing School Degree Programs Springdale Arkansas

How to Select the Best Nursing College near Springdale AR

Springdale AR RN with Doctor and PatientFinding the right nursing program near Springdale AR may feel like a formidable endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is local to your house is probably not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various key additional aspects to investigate before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are available together with what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Springdale AR Nurse taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as Springdale AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

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

Nursing Degree Options

Springdale Arkansas Nurse assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees 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 earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Springdale Arkansas area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by Arkansas community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 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 may wish 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 commonly 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.

Once a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Degrees

Springdale AR student attending nursing college onlineEnrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending 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 facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend college for some Springdale AR students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an essential part of a Springdale 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 several reasons, among the most meaningful are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often choose the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the medical profession, rather than the analytical or research related elements, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work settings, including nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses provide direct patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

questions to ask Springdale AR nursing training programsNow that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Springdale AR or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within 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 mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Arkansas for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary 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. Some states require a certain 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 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. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Arkansas school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Springdale AR healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 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 Springdale AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Springdale AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Right Springdale AR RN Program

Springdale AR pediatric nurse holding babyChoosing the ideal nursing college is arguably the most important step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are various variables that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community.  By using 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 dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Springdale AR.