How to Choose a Nursing College near Saratoga Arkansas
Finding the right nursing program near Saratoga AR may feel like a challenging project, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is local to your house is probably not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of important additional considerations to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including Saratoga AR hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often 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 receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Saratoga 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 job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 2 year program after acquiring 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, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are generally two academic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second 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 finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind 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 syllabus adequately 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 earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Saratoga 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 must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Saratoga AR or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Saratoga AR for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers 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. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Arkansas school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Saratoga 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 schools you are considering 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 unhappy 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 Saratoga AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Saratoga AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for many Saratoga AR students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous 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 easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Saratoga AR?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Saratoga 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.
Saratoga is an unincorporated community in Hempstead and Howard counties, Arkansas, United States. Saratoga is located at the junction of Arkansas highways 32, 73 and 355, 5 miles (8.0 km) south of Tollette. Saratoga has a post office with ZIP code 71859.
Residents are served by the Mineral Springs Saratoga School District. On July 1, 2004, the Saratoga School District consolidated into the Mineral Springs School District. The local high school is currently Mineral Springs High School; the district previously operated Saratoga High School until its 2012 closure.
Pick the Right Nursing College near Saratoga AR
Choosing the right registered nursing program is perhaps the most crucial step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are many variables that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed in this post, it is essential that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist 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 right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Saratoga AR.
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