How to Enroll In the Best RN School near Springdale AR
Choosing the right nursing program near Springdale AR may seem like a formidable endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are several crucial additional factors to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree options that are available as well as what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Springdale AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising 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 complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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
There are several degree options to choose from 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 two years, or advance to obtain 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 Springdale 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 healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 normally a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend school for many Springdale AR students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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 obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Springdale AR or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided 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) in addition to 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 essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards 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 considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Arkansas school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Springdale 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 unhappy 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 superb reputation within the Springdale AR medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Springdale AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Springdale AR RN Program
Deciding on the right nursing school is potentially the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are many factors that you must think about when selecting a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is important that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Springdale AR.