How to Enroll In the Right Nursing Program near Springdale AR
Finding the right nursing school near Springdale AR may feel like a complicated endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house is probably not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are various important additional things to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Springdale AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees offered 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 receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries 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 2 year program made available by Arkansas community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically 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 might want to progress 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 achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to check with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Springdale AR students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Springdale AR or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will look at. 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 pick measures up to the field.
- 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 agency. Aside from helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often 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 required 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Arkansas school licensing authority to find out 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 considering 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Springdale AR medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Springdale AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Springdale AR RN Program
Choosing the right nursing school is perhaps the most critical step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of factors that you must consider when choosing a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist 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 desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Springdale AR.