How to Select a Nursing Program near Ozark Arkansas
Searching for the right nursing program near Ozark AR may feel like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is local to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are several crucial additional things to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Ozark AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role 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. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse. And in order 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 obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Ozark AR area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want to progress 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 2 year program after attaining 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 obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are essentially two scholastic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time period, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to 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 adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at Ozark AR area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Ozark AR or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
- 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 organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Ozark AR for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit 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. Additionally, contact the Arkansas school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Ozark AR healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Ozark AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Ozark AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more favored way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for some Ozark AR students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. 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. So if your work and household obligations 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 Ozark AR?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Ozark 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.
Ozark is a city in Franklin County, Arkansas, United States and one of the county's two seats of government. The community is located along the Arkansas River in the Arkansas River Valley on the southern edge of the Ozark Mountains. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 3,684.
Incorporated in 1850, Ozark is adjacent to much of Arkansas wine country, and contains a bridge to cross the Arkansas River for travelers heading to points south. The city is also located on Arkansas Highway 23, nicknamed the Pig Trail Scenic Byway, known for its steep drops, sharp curves and scenic mountain views. The city is contained within the Fort Smith metropolitan area.
Native Americans roamed the area freely before Arkansas was a territory. The Cherokee and Osage lived in this area that would later become attractive to settlers. The Ozark area was frequented by French fur trappers and served as a landmark during European exploration of the area. It was these adventurous souls who gave the area and the rolling mountains that rise there their name, Aux Arcs.
Enroll in the Right Nursing College near Ozark AR
Choosing the ideal registered nursing school is potentially the most important first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of aspects that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Ozark AR.
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