How to Select a Nursing School in Washington Arkansas
Searching for the right nursing program near Washington AR may feel like a difficult endeavor, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are several essential additional aspects to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Washington AR medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Washington AR, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse in Washington AR. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions 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 job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Washington AR or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are basically two scholastic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Washington AR. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Arkansas approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study effectively 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 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 Washington AR area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction required and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Arkansas to make certain that the training course is state approved. Along with 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 Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree in Arkansas. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Washington AR home, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist 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 essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school relative to Washington AR as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Washington AR.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Washington AR area school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations 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 speak with some local Washington 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 programs you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased 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 good reputation within the Washington AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Washington AR area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN College near Washington AR
Picking the right registered nursing school is potentially the most important step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous factors that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is important that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose 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 practicing nurse in Washington AR.
Why Did You Decide to Become an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's important to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask nursing prospects is "What made you select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a RN, but additionally what attributes and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready some ideas about how you would like to answer them. Because there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the best candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down a few ideas and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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