How to Pick a Nursing School in Prescott Arkansas
Choosing the right nursing college near Prescott AR may feel like a formidable endeavor, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many important additional aspects to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Prescott AR healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Prescott AR, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Prescott 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 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions 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 prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 commonly a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Prescott AR or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are essentially two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Prescott AR. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it needs to be Arkansas approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Prescott AR area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and each state has its own requirements. So it’s important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for Arkansas to make sure that the education 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 can be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more popular way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree in Arkansas. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Prescott AR home, this alternative 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 expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin 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 important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school relative to Prescott AR and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other programs.
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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Prescott 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Prescott AR area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Arkansas school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Prescott 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 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Prescott AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Prescott AR area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Program near Prescott AR
Deciding on the right registered nursing degree program is potentially the most critical first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are various variables that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Prescott AR.
Why Did You Want to Be a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the things that interviewers often ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a nurse, but additionally what attributes and skills you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should ready a number of approaches about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the talents you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the leading candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down some concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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