How to Find the Right Nursing Program in Forrest City Arkansas
Selecting the best nursing school near Forrest City AR may feel like a complicated endeavor, especially if you have no idea 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 appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is local to your residence is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are various key additional factors to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Forrest City AR medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing 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 advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Forrest City AR, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse in Forrest City AR. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by Arkansas community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Forrest City AR or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) so as to become licensed. Additional 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 Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Forrest City AR. The one that can be finished in the shortest time period, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable 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 some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum properly 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 need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Forrest City AR area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training required and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for Arkansas to make sure that the training course is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to get training and acquire a nursing degree in Arkansas. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Forrest City AR home, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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 work and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school relative to Forrest City AR and the price of tuition are probably 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 prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Forrest City AR.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Forrest City AR area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Arkansas school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Forrest City AR healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges 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 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 Forrest City AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Forrest City AR area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Degree near Forrest City AR
Picking the right registered nursing college is arguably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed within this article, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 licensed RN in Forrest City AR.
Why Did You Want to Be an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask nursing candidates is "What made you pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you must prepare some approaches about how you want to answer them. Since there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the best choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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