How to Choose a Nursing College near Decatur Arkansas
Locating the right nursing college near Decatur AR may feel like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are several important additional considerations to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different Decatur AR medical settings, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to assist 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. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Decatur AR area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by Arkansas community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Arkansas 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 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 provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to get instruction 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 certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many Decatur AR students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can 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 family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges in the Decatur AR area and throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans in Decatur AR, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ 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. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, 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 preps 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 assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Arkansas school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Decatur AR healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 dissatisfied 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 favorable reputation within the Decatur AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Decatur AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near Decatur AR?
Decatur is a city, in Benton County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 1,699 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers, AR-MO Metropolitan Statistical Area. This town is named after Commodore Stephen Decatur, Jr.
Decatur is located in western Benton County at 36°20′15″N 94°27′24″W / 36.33750°N 94.45667°W / 36.33750; -94.45667 (36.337541, -94.456721).Arkansas Highway 59 passes through the city, leading north 6 miles (10 km) to Gravette and 13 miles (21 km) to the Missouri border, and south 13 miles (21 km) to Siloam Springs. Arkansas Highway 102 leads east 16 miles (26 km) to Bentonville and west 10 miles (16 km) to the Oklahoma border.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Decatur has a total area of 4.5 square miles (11.7 km2), of which 4.4 square miles (11.5 km2) is land and 0.039 square miles (0.1 km2), or 1.21%, is water.
Select the Right RN School near Decatur AR
Selecting the right registered nursing program is perhaps the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of variables that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is critical that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Decatur AR.
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