How to Choose a Nursing College near Huntsville Arkansas
Locating the best nursing college near Huntsville AR may seem like a difficult project, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to select a nursing program. There are many key additional factors to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different Huntsville AR medical settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance 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 Huntsville AR area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by Arkansas community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Arkansas 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 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 usually a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned 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 vary from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Huntsville AR students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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 job and household commitments 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 active schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges in the Huntsville AR area and throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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 organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans in Huntsville AR, which are often not offered 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Arkansas school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Huntsville 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 colleges 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Huntsville 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. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Huntsville AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near Huntsville AR?
Huntsville is a city in mountainous Madison County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 2,346 at the 2010 census. The city is the county seat of Madison County, located in the northwest corner of the state. During the American Civil War in 1862, it was the site of what became known as the Huntsville Massacre.
Huntsville was named for John Hunt, considered the founder of the settlement. Huntsville incorporated as a town after the Civil War in 1877. The community was incorporated as a city on July 16, 1925.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,931 people, 761 households, and 493 families residing in the city. The population density was 640.0 people per square mile (246.9/km²). There were 853 housing units at an average density of 282.7/sq mi (109.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.21% White, 0.10% Black or African American, 2.12% Native American, 0.21% Pacific Islander, 6.53% from other races, and 0.83% from two or more races. 12.79% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Enroll in the Right RN Degree near Huntsville AR
Choosing the ideal registered nursing school is arguably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are various aspects that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed within this content, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select 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 licensed RN in Huntsville AR.
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