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Nursing School Degree Programs Texarkana Arkansas

How to Select the Right Nursing Course near Texarkana AR

Texarkana AR Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientSelecting the best nursing school near Texarkana AR may seem like a challenging undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are several important additional considerations to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are offered as well as what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Texarkana AR RN taking vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Texarkana AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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.

Nursing Degrees

Texarkana Arkansas RN assisting surgeon

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 obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Texarkana Arkansas area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 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 utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four 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 desire 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 normally a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance 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) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Classes

Texarkana AR student attending RN school onlineAttending nursing programs online is becoming a more in demand way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some Texarkana AR students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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 obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Things to Ask Nursing Colleges

Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Texarkana AR or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific 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 delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Arkansas school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Texarkana 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 schools 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 good reputation within the Texarkana AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Texarkana AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Right Texarkana AR RN School

Texarkana Arkansas nurse holding patient chartEnrolling in the right nursing college is perhaps the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous variables that you should consider when selecting a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is essential that you select a nursing school 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 shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Texarkana AR.