How to Choose a Nursing Program near Ashdown Arkansas
Searching for the right nursing school near Ashdown AR may seem like a formidable undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many essential additional things to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Ashdown AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Ashdown AR area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner 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) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are generally two academic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative 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, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it needs to 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 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 attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at Ashdown AR area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required 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 minimum period of instruction directed and each state has its own requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state certified. As well as 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.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Ashdown AR or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Ashdown AR for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit 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. Additionally, get in touch with the Arkansas school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some 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 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Ashdown AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Ashdown AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more in demand way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for some Ashdown AR students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Ashdown AR?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Ashdown Arkansas area. If that is the case, then the following information may prove to be both educational and useful regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Ashdown (formerly Turkey Flats and Keller) is a city in Little River County, Arkansas, United States. The community was incorporated in 1892 and has been the county seat since 1906. Located within the Arkansas Timberlands between the Little River and the Red River, Ashdown's economy and development have historically been tied to the timber industry, a trend that continues to this day. Ashdown's population at the 2010 census was 4,723, a slight decrease from the 2000 census. The city's well-preserved history and proximity to outdoor recreation such as Millwood State Park draws tourists to the area. Although not within the Texarkana metropolitan area, the city's proximity to Texarkana impacts many areas of life in Ashdown.
Founded as a small farming community, Ashdown was initially known as Turkey Flats and later Keller before being renamed by Judge Lawrence Alexander Byrne. Following his Keller mill being "burned down to ashes", Byrne vowed to rebuild and found a town named Ashdown. It was incorporated on June 11, 1892 as Ashdown, and rapid growth began in 1895 following the railroad reaching town. The Arkansas and Choctaw Railroad connected Ashdown to Arkinda, and the growth of the Kansas City Southern Railway, the Frisco and the Memphis, Dallas and Gulf Railroad continued to grow the city and her timber industry, which had been utilizing steamboats and flatboats to ship lumber.
Following World War II, Ashdown's economy began to diversify. Its location near two rivers attracted manufacturing plants, such as Coca-Cola bottling plant, box factory, clothing plant, ice plant and a pallet plant. The United States Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Little River and Saline River at their confluence in 1966, forming Millwood Lake. The lake's recreational value attracted a Nekoosa Paper Company paper mill two years later, still in operation today after being purchased by Domtar. The Little River Memorial Hospital was also built during this period of rapid building and development.
Select the Right Nursing Degree near Ashdown AR
Selecting the ideal registered nursing program is potentially the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various aspects that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this post, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Ashdown AR.
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