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Nursing School Degree Programs Texarkana Arkansas

How to Choose an Accredited RN Degree Program near Texarkana AR

Texarkana AR Nurse with Doctor and PatientSearching for the right nursing school near Texarkana AR may seem like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you 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 assess the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many crucial additional considerations to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are available as well as what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Texarkana AR RN taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Texarkana AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to support 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. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Texarkana Arkansas RN assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option to choose from 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 receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Texarkana 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 position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish to progress 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 commonly a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

Once 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. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Classes

Texarkana AR student attending nursing school onlineAttending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for some Texarkana AR students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an essential part of a Texarkana AR medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, the most meaningful are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often go into the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the healthcare profession, rather than the analytical or research related elements, is attractive to many who choose to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work environments, such as home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses deliver primary patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Programs

questions to ask Texarkana AR nursing training collegesOnce you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Texarkana AR or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of 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 workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.

  • 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 organization. In addition to helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Arkansas for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain 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 attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Arkansas school licensing authority to check 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 programs 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 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 superb reputation within the Texarkana AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Texarkana AR area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best Texarkana AR Nursing School

Texarkana AR RN holding newbornPicking the ideal nursing program is potentially the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous variables that you should take into account when selecting a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is essential that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community.  By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Texarkana AR.