How to Choose a Nursing Program in Bentonville Arkansas
Finding the best nursing school near Bentonville AR may feel like a complex endeavor, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of key additional factors to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Bentonville 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 duty is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Bentonville AR, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse in Bentonville AR. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn 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 explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by Arkansas community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth 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 past 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 normally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Bentonville AR or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained 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. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are basically two academic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Bentonville AR. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit 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. No matter 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 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 many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Bentonville AR area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated 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 instruction directed and every state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Arkansas to make sure that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree in Arkansas. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Bentonville AR home, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. 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 school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school relative to Bentonville AR along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Bentonville AR.
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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Bentonville AR area school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Arkansas school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Bentonville 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 programs 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 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Bentonville AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Bentonville AR area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Course near Bentonville AR
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing school is probably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Bentonville AR.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. Among the things that recruiters frequently ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a RN, but additionally what attributes and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare several ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the talents you have that make you an excellent nurse and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down some ideas and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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