How to Find the Right Nursing College near Norman Arkansas
Choosing the best nursing program near Norman AR may feel like a challenging project, especially 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 acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional factors to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Norman AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, 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:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Norman AR area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally 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) offers 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 may want 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 normally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned 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 fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are essentially two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, typically about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other 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 finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter 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 warrants that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at Norman AR area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain 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 minimum period of training directed and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Norman AR or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Norman 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many 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 provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Arkansas school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Norman 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 colleges you are considering 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Norman AR medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Norman AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more favored way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for many Norman AR students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Norman AR?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Norman 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.
There is a Caddo Native American burial ground on the southern end of town. It was discovered by city officials, led by then mayor Duane Cox, who protected it with a wooden fence. Recently, descendents of the Caddo added to the site a footpath and benches as well as plaques containing historical information regarding the living habits of Native Americans.
As of the census of 2000, there were 423 people, 190 households, and 117 families residing in the town. The population density was 140.8/km² (364.8/mi²). There were 224 housing units at an average density of 74.6/km² (193.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the town was 94.56% White, 1.42% Native American, 0.95% Asian, 0.95% from other races, and 2.13% from two or more races. 2.84% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 190 households out of which 25.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.1% were married couples living together, 16.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.9% were non-families. 34.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.84.
Enroll in the Right Nursing School near Norman AR
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing school is perhaps the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are many aspects that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Norman AR.
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