How to Enroll In a Nursing College near Conway Arkansas
Locating the best nursing college near Conway AR may feel like a complex undertaking, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are many key additional things to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Conway AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Conway AR area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize 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 in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 generally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are generally two scholastic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time frame, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it should be Arkansas approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Conway AR area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three 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 have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state 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 may be additional requirements as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Conway AR or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Conway 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as 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 important that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards 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 organizations for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Arkansas school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Conway 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased 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 Conway AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Conway AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some Conway AR students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of 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 household obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Conway AR?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Conway 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.
Conway is a city in the American state of Arkansas and the county seat of Faulkner County, located in the state's most populous Metropolitan Statistical Area, Central Arkansas. Conway is unique in that the majority of its residents do not commute out of the city to work. The city also serves as a regional shopping, educational, work, healthcare, sports, and cultural hub for Faulkner County and surrounding areas. Conway's growth can be attributed to its jobs in technology and higher education with its largest employers being Acxiom, the University of Central Arkansas, Hewlett Packard, Hendrix College, Insight Enterprises, and many technology start up companies. Conway is home to three post-secondary educational institutions, earning it the nickname "The City of Colleges".
As of the 2017 Census Estimate, the city proper had a total population of 65,782, making Conway the eighth-largest city in Arkansas. Central Arkansas, the Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway, AR Metropolitan Statistical Area, is ranked 75th largest in the United States with 734,622 people in 2016. Conway is part of the larger Little Rock–North Little Rock, AR Combined Statistical Area, which in 2016 had a population of 905,847, and ranked the country's 60th largest CSA.
The city of Conway was founded by Asa P. Robinson, who came to the area shortly after the Civil War. Robinson was the chief engineer for the Little Rock-Fort Smith Railroad (now the Union Pacific). Part of his compensation was the deed to a tract of land, one square mile, located near the old settlement of Cadron. When the railroad came through, Robinson deeded a small tract of his land back to the railroad for a depot site. He laid off a town site around the depot and named it "Conway Station", in honor of a famous Arkansas family. Conway Station contained two small stores, two saloons, a depot, some temporary housing and a post office. Despite being founded as a railroad town, there currently exists no passenger service. The disappearance of passenger rail service in the region is attributed to the emphasis placed on the automobile.
Pick the Right Nursing College near Conway AR
Selecting the ideal registered nursing degree program is probably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many factors that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Conway AR.
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ARNEC is a consortium of eight community and technical colleges located in rural areas of Arkansas. ARNEC was created to provide LPNs/LVNs the opportunity to take the next step towards advancing their careers in nursing by earning an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing degree (AASN).
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