How to Enroll In a Nursing Program near Russellville Arkansas
Choosing the right nursing school near Russellville AR may feel like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are many crucial additional considerations to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Russellville AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees offered 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 two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Russellville AR area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 generally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two scholastic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, normally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it should be Arkansas approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Russellville 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 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 minimal amount of instruction mandated and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise 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 is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Russellville AR or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Russellville AR for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the Arkansas school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Russellville 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 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Russellville AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Russellville AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for some Russellville 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 lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous 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 commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Russellville AR?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Russellville 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.
Russellville is the county seat and largest city in Pope County, Arkansas, United States, with a population of 27,920, according to the 2010 Census. It is home to Arkansas Tech University and Arkansas Nuclear One, Arkansas' only nuclear power plant. Russellville borders Lake Dardanelle and the Arkansas River.
Before the town was named Russellville, it was known as Chactas Prairie, The Prairie, or Cactus Flats. In the early 19th century, Osage from Missouri hunted frequently in the valley where Russellville is located. Between 1818 and 1828, the area was within a Cherokee reservation, but after 1828 the Cherokee were removed to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma), and the land became available for white settlement. The first settler in the area was P.C. Holledger in 1834.
One year later, Dr. Thomas Russell bought Holledger's house. The first business to be established in the town was owned by Mr. Shinn, who later built a masonry structure to replace his wooden store in 1875. This building still exists today, and is known as the Shinn Building. It was built at the intersection of an east-west road from Little Rock to Fort Smith and a north-south buffalo trail to a ford on the Arkansas River. Early travelers used these established trails to pass through the valley. When the town's residents decided to name the town, it came down to two choices: Shinnville or Russellville, and Russellville won.
Pick the Right Nursing Degree near Russellville AR
Selecting the right registered nursing program is perhaps the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Russellville AR.
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