How to Enroll In a Nursing Program in North Little Rock Arkansas
Choosing the best nursing school near North Little Rock AR may seem like a complicated project, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several key additional aspects to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the North Little Rock AR healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function 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 along with where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced 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 deliver primary or specialty care services in North Little Rock AR, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse in North Little Rock AR. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries 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 position in nursing in healthcare centers 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) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in North Little Rock AR or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received 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. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are basically two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in North Little Rock AR. The one that can be finished in the shortest period of time, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter 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 attests that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most 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 North Little Rock AR area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated 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 minimum period of training mandated and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for Arkansas to make sure that the training is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree in Arkansas. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your North Little Rock AR home, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school relative to North Little Rock AR and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near North Little Rock AR.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the North Little Rock AR area school you are attending 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. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. 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 North Little Rock 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 programs 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 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 North Little Rock AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all North Little Rock AR area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Course near North Little Rock AR
Enrolling in the right registered nursing college is arguably the most important step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous factors that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in North Little Rock AR.
Why Did You Desire to Be an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters often ask nursing applicants is "What made you pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a nurse, but also what qualities and talents you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must organize several ideas about how you would like to address them. Since there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the leading choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and anecdotes that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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