How to Pick a Nursing School near North Little Rock Arkansas
Finding the best nursing college near North Little Rock AR may feel like a formidable undertaking, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine 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. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are various essential additional things to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely North Little Rock AR hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising 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 high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 common illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the North Little Rock AR area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 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 utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at 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 may wish 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 commonly a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Training
There are basically two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time period, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more in-depth 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 warrants 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 obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at North Little Rock AR area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the 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 certain that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near North Little Rock AR or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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 agency. Besides helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in North Little Rock AR for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, 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 North Little Rock 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 colleges 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the North Little Rock AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with North Little Rock AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many North Little Rock AR students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily 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. Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near North Little Rock AR?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater North Little Rock 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.
North Little Rock, Arkansas
North Little Rock is a city in Pulaski County, Arkansas, United States, across the Arkansas River from Little Rock in the central part of the state. The population was 62,304 at the 2010 census. In 2017 the estimated population was 65,911, making it the seventh-most populous city in the state. North Little Rock, along with Little Rock and Conway, anchors the six-county Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway Metropolitan Statistical Area (2014 population 729,135), which is further included in the Little Rock-North Little Rock Combined Statistical Area with 902,443 residents.
The city's downtown is anchored in the Argenta Historic District, which draws its name from the original name of the city; the area includes Dickey-Stephens Park, the current home of the Arkansas Travelers minor league baseball team, and Verizon Arena, the metropolitan area's main entertainment venue. Farther west in the city is Burns Park, one of the largest municipal parks in the United States.
North Little Rock has a long history, dating back to the Burial Mound People. It was once known as Argenta, a name that currently applies specifically to downtown North Little Rock. In 1890, Little Rock annexed the unincorporated Argenta community as its Eighth Ward, preempting a competing petition to incorporate Argenta. A neighboring area was incorporated as the Town of North Little Rock in 1901 as part of a plan to reclaim the Eighth Ward from Little Rock. By 1904, the Arkansas Supreme Court allowed the town to annex the Eighth Ward; the modern City of North Little Rock considers this its founding date. The combined city adopted the Argenta name by 1906, but reverted to North Little Rock in October 1917. A remnant of the city's earliest years can be found in North Little Rock City Hall (constructed in 1914), which still contains plaques referring to "Argenta", and contains "C of A" (City of Argenta) ornamental designs.
Enroll in the Right Nursing Degree near North Little Rock AR
Choosing the ideal registered nursing degree program is probably the most important step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of aspects that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is critical that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in North Little Rock AR.
More Awesome Locations in Arkansas