How to Find the Right Nursing Program near Greenwood Arkansas
Selecting the right nursing college near Greenwood AR may feel like a difficult undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are various important additional things to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Greenwood AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to assist 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 along with where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing 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 example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And in order 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 obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Greenwood AR area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares 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 subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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 can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Training
There are generally two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest period of time, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from offering 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 needs to be Arkansas approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Greenwood AR area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and each state has its own requirements. So it’s important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Greenwood AR or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.
- 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. Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Greenwood AR for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some 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 delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Arkansas school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Greenwood 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 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 displeased 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 superb reputation within the Greenwood AR medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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 prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Greenwood AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more popular way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for some Greenwood AR students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Greenwood AR?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Greenwood 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.
Greenwood is a city in and one of the two county seats of Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States. It is the fifth largest municipality in the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area with a population of 8,952 according to the 2010 US Census. According to estimates based on the most recent census, the population of Greenwood in 2017 was 9,405.
Greenwood was founded in 1851 when its location was selected for the first county seat of Sebastian County. The town was named for Judge Alfred Burton Greenwood. Judge Greenwood had been elected the previous year to serve as Circuit Judge over ten Northwest Arkansas counties. The first court house was a log structure, replaced in 1865 by a frame court house which was built in the center of the public square. This courthouse later burned and in 1916 the courthouse was relocated south of the square. Since that time the square has become a city park and site of many festivals, city picnics and celebrations.
The growth of Greenwood was comparatively slow, but by the breaking out of the Civil War it had attained some importance as a business center and by 1889 its business directory listed General Merchandise, Drugs, Groceries, Cotton Gin, Grist and Saw Mill, 3 Hotels, 3 Blacksmith and wood shops, 3 physicians, 1 dentist and 7 attorneys.
Choose the Right Nursing School near Greenwood AR
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing school is perhaps the most important phase to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are various variables that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is critical that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Greenwood AR.
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