How to Pick a Nursing School in Ashdown Arkansas
Finding the right nursing school near Ashdown AR may feel like a challenging project, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt 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 discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Ashdown AR healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing 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 example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Ashdown AR, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse in Ashdown 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 continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by Arkansas community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Arkansas 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 desire to advance 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 two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Ashdown AR or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are generally two scholastic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Ashdown AR. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time frame, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it should be Arkansas approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees 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 need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Ashdown AR area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three 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 must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for Arkansas to make certain that the education is state approved. In addition to 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.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree in Arkansas. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Ashdown AR home, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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 commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school relative to Ashdown AR along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
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. In addition to helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Ashdown AR.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together 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 essential that the Ashdown AR area school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch 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 companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Arkansas school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Ashdown 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 dissatisfied 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 Ashdown AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Ashdown AR area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Degree near Ashdown AR
Choosing the right registered nursing degree program is arguably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are many aspects that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Ashdown AR.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the things that hiring managers frequently ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the private reasons you may have for being a RN, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must prepare several strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the leading candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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