How to Choose a Nursing School in Huntsville Arkansas
Selecting the best nursing college near Huntsville AR may feel like a complex endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are several key additional things to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Huntsville AR healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular 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
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. 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 Huntsville AR, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Huntsville AR. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 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 use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 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 wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Huntsville AR or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained 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 mandates.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are generally two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Huntsville AR. The one that may be completed in the shortest time frame, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind 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 attests that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Huntsville AR area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive 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 amount of training mandated and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets 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. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree in Arkansas. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Huntsville AR home, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. 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 family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is important 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 Huntsville AR along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Huntsville AR.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) as well as 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 important that the Huntsville AR area school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Arkansas school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Huntsville 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Huntsville AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Huntsville AR area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Degree near Huntsville AR
Enrolling in the right registered nursing degree program is probably the most important first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are various factors that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist 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 drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Huntsville AR.
Why Did You Want to Be an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that interviewers often ask nursing prospects is "What compelled you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a registered nurse, but also what attributes and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize some strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude 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 outstanding nurse and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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