How to Choose a Nursing Program near Clarendon Arkansas
Finding the best nursing program near Clarendon AR may feel like a complex undertaking, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many future students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are various crucial additional aspects to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Clarendon AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Clarendon AR area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by 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 ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides 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 prior 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner 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. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are essentially two scholastic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it should be Arkansas approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum 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 other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at Clarendon AR area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training 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 mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training 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 might be additional prerequisites as well.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Clarendon AR or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will look at. 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 pick compares to the field.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Clarendon AR for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Arkansas school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Clarendon AR healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Clarendon AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Clarendon AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some Clarendon AR students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Clarendon AR?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Clarendon 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.
Clarendon is a city in, and the county seat of, Monroe County, Arkansas, United States. Located in the Arkansas Delta, the city's position on the White River at the mouth of the Cache River has defined the community since first incorporating in 1859. Although the river has brought devastation and disaster to the city occasionally throughout history, it has also provided economic opportunities, transportation, recreation and tourism to the city.
Once home to a variety of industries, today Clarendon's economy is largely based on agriculture. Similar to many Delta communities, the city's population has been dwindling since mechanization on the farm reduced the number of agricultural-related jobs in the area. At the 2010 Census, the population was 1,664, the lowest value recorded since 1890.
The area around Clarendon was originally populated by various Native American groups. By 1799, French hunters and trappers had built cabins at the mouth of the Cache River. It was the point where The Military Road from Memphis, Tennessee to Little Rock crossed the White River. The Military Road was begun in 1826 and completed in 1828. By that date, a ferry crossing and post office had been established in Clarendon, and the town served as the terminus for a stagecoach line to the west. The Military Road was used as the route for some groups of Native Americans being relocated from eastern states to Oklahoma during the forced relocations commonly known as the Trail of Tears; Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Cherokee groups are known to have traveled along it. A railroad bridge across the White River was constructed in 1883 by the Texas and St. Louis Railway; the ferry operated until 1931 when it was replaced by a highway bridge.
Choose the Right Nursing Program near Clarendon AR
Enrolling in the right registered nursing school is perhaps the most crucial step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various variables that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this article, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Clarendon AR.
More Awesome Locations in Arkansas