How to Select a Nursing College near Decatur Arkansas
Finding the right nursing program near Decatur AR may feel like a formidable project, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is probably not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are various key additional things to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Decatur AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing 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 high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Decatur AR area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically 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.
Once a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it should be Arkansas approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at Decatur AR area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction mandated and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Decatur AR or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Decatur AR 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, contact the Arkansas school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Decatur 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Decatur AR medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Decatur AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more preferred way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some Decatur AR students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Decatur AR?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Decatur Arkansas area. If that is the case, then the following information may prove to be both educational and useful regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Decatur is a city, in Benton County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 1,699 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers, AR-MO Metropolitan Statistical Area. This town is named after Commodore Stephen Decatur, Jr.
Decatur is located in western Benton County at 36°20′15″N 94°27′24″W / 36.33750°N 94.45667°W / 36.33750; -94.45667 (36.337541, -94.456721).Arkansas Highway 59 passes through the city, leading north 6 miles (10 km) to Gravette and 13 miles (21 km) to the Missouri border, and south 13 miles (21 km) to Siloam Springs. Arkansas Highway 102 leads east 16 miles (26 km) to Bentonville and west 10 miles (16 km) to the Oklahoma border.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Decatur has a total area of 4.5 square miles (11.7 km2), of which 4.4 square miles (11.5 km2) is land and 0.039 square miles (0.1 km2), or 1.21%, is water.
Enroll in the Right Nursing Program near Decatur AR
Selecting the right registered nursing school is arguably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are various variables that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is essential that you choose an RN 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 create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Decatur AR.
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