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Nursing School Degree Programs Springdale Arkansas

How to Find an Accredited RN Training Program near Springdale AR

Springdale AR Nurse with Doctor and PatientSearching for the right nursing college near Springdale AR may seem like a challenging undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is local to your home is probably not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are a number of key additional considerations to investigate before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree alternatives that are offered together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Springdale AR RN taking vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Springdale AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Keeping health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Springdale Arkansas Nurse assisting surgeon

There are several degree options offered 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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Springdale Arkansas area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by Arkansas community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally 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 want 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 usually a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various 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 Programs

Springdale AR student attending RN college onlineEnrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more preferred way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for many Springdale AR students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward 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.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Springdale AR or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.

  • 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 agency. In addition to helping verify that you obtain 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 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Arkansas school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Springdale 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 considering 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 dissatisfied 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 good reputation within the Springdale AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Springdale AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best Springdale AR Nursing Program

Springdale Arkansas nurse holding medical chartChoosing the ideal nursing program is arguably the most important first step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many variables that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is critical 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 checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Springdale AR.