How to Pick a Nursing School near Ozark Arkansas
Selecting the right nursing school near Ozark AR may seem like a complex project, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regretably, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are many key additional factors to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different Ozark AR medical settings, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising 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 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees available 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 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Ozark AR area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by Arkansas community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Arkansas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 progress 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 receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arkansas board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for many Ozark AR students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges in the Ozark AR area and throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans in Ozark AR, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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 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 a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Arkansas school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Ozark 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 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Ozark AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Ozark AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near Ozark AR?
Ozark is a city in Franklin County, Arkansas, United States and one of the county's two seats of government. The community is located along the Arkansas River in the Arkansas River Valley on the southern edge of the Ozark Mountains. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 3,684.
Incorporated in 1850, Ozark is adjacent to much of Arkansas wine country, and contains a bridge to cross the Arkansas River for travelers heading to points south. The city is also located on Arkansas Highway 23, nicknamed the Pig Trail Scenic Byway, known for its steep drops, sharp curves and scenic mountain views. The city is contained within the Fort Smith metropolitan area.
Native Americans roamed the area freely before Arkansas was a territory. The Cherokee and Osage lived in this area that would later become attractive to settlers. The Ozark area was frequented by French fur trappers and served as a landmark during European exploration of the area. It was these adventurous souls who gave the area and the rolling mountains that rise there their name, Aux Arcs.
Pick the Right RN School near Ozark AR
Picking the ideal registered nursing college is potentially the most important phase to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of variables that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Ozark AR.
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