How to Pick a Nursing Program near Harrisburg Arkansas
Choosing the best nursing college near Harrisburg AR may seem like a challenging project, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are many key additional aspects to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Harrisburg AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically 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 Degree Options
There is more than one degree option offered 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 earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Harrisburg AR area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are basically two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest amount of time, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it should be Arkansas approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum properly 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 need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be received at Harrisburg AR area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Harrisburg AR or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Harrisburg AR for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain 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 excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Arkansas school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Harrisburg 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Harrisburg AR medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Harrisburg AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend college for many Harrisburg AR students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of 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 responsibilities have left you with limited 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 Harrisburg AR?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Harrisburg 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.
Harrisburg is a city in Poinsett County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 2,288 at the 2010 census. It is included in the Jonesboro, Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city is the county seat of Poinsett County.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,192 people, 855 households, and 582 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,050.4 people per square mile (404.9/km²). There were 928 housing units at an average density of 444.7/sq mi (171.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.66% White, 1.24% Black or African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.87% from other races, and 0.82% from two or more races. 1.51% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race and 00.01% Other.
There were 855 households out of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.8% were married couples living together, 15.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.9% were non-families. 29.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.84.
Choose the Right Nursing College near Harrisburg AR
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing program is probably the most important first step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous factors that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is essential that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose 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 licensed RN in Harrisburg AR.
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