How to Enroll In a Nursing Program in Fayetteville Arkansas
Choosing the best nursing program near Fayetteville AR may feel like a complex endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of key additional considerations to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Fayetteville AR healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing 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 provide primary or specialty care services in Fayetteville AR, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse in Fayetteville AR. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by Arkansas community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Arkansas 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 wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Fayetteville AR or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Training
There are essentially two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Fayetteville AR. The one that can be finished in the shortest period of time, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type 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 course of study properly 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 education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Fayetteville AR area. The duration of the training program 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 mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for Arkansas to make certain that the training course 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 requirements as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree in Arkansas. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Fayetteville AR home, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other 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 such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school relative to Fayetteville AR as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
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 agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Fayetteville AR.
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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Fayetteville AR area school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, contact the Arkansas school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Fayetteville 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Fayetteville AR medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Fayetteville AR area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN College near Fayetteville AR
Deciding on the right registered nursing college is potentially the most crucial step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is important that you choose an RN college 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 produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Fayetteville AR.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to review questions you could be asked. Among the questions that recruiters frequently ask nursing applicants is "What made you select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a nurse, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must prepare some ideas about how you would like to address them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Some Other Cities in Arkansas