How to Select a Nursing College near Branch Arkansas
Selecting the best nursing program near Branch AR may seem like a complex project, especially if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is local to your residence is probably not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of important additional aspects to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different Branch AR medical environments, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Branch AR area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Arkansas community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 job 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 concentrate 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) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend college for many Branch AR students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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. Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges in the Branch AR area and throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 agency. Aside from helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans in Branch AR, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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 specified 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 working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Arkansas school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Branch 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 programs you are considering 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Branch AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Branch AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near Branch AR?
Branch is located in southwestern Franklin County at the junctions of Arkansas Highways 22 and 41. Highway 22 leads east 5 miles (8 km) to Caulksville and west 5 miles (8 km) to Charleston, while Highway 41 leads north 10 miles (16 km) to Cecil and south 14 miles (23 km) to Booneville. Fort Smith is 28 miles (45 km) to the west.
As of the census of 2000, there were 357 people, 141 households, and 106 families residing in the city. The population density was 100.1 people per square mile (38.6/km²). There were 155 housing units at an average density of 43.5 per square mile (16.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.08% White, 1.68% Native American, 0.84% Asian, 0.56% from other races, and 0.84% from two or more races. 0.56% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 141 households out of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.8% were married couples living together, 6.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.8% were non-families. 21.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 2.92.
Pick the Right RN School near Branch AR
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing program is perhaps the most crucial step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are many aspects that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is critical that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Branch AR.
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