How to Enroll In an Accredited Nursing Program near Springdale AR
Choosing the right nursing program near Springdale AR may feel like a challenging project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several crucial additional aspects to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are offered along with what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Springdale AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing 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 typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees 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 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 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 commonly a 2 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 utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 typically a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more popular way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for many Springdale AR students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more 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 job and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Enter the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an important component of a Springdale AR medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, the most meaningful are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly choose the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is attractive to many who decide to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work environments, including home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses deliver direct patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Springdale AR or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Arkansas for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. 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 judgments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 essential 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 medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Springdale AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Springdale AR Nursing School
Picking the right nursing program is probably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you should take into account when picking a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this article, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Springdale AR.