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Becoming an RN in Arkansas

Professional nursing programs are academically rigorous, but often include flexible scheduling. This is because the demand for professional nurses is high. There are a number of program options that will qualify you to sit for the NCLEX exam and apply for Arkansas licensing. The Arkansas Board maintains a list of approved and accredited programs, which can be found at the end of this article. You will find options organized by degree type: associate’s, diploma, or baccalaureate. There are many options at both the associates and baccalaureate level. At the diploma level, there are two: at Jefferson Regional Medical School Center of Nursing and at Baptist Health Schools. A diploma program is hospital-based and typically longer than an associate’s but shorter than a baccalaureate degree.

RN Career & Education Pathways

What type of program should you enroll in? It depends on what stage you are in your educational career. The Arkansas Board of Nursing wants to help nurses achieve higher degrees. Many institutions participate in an articulation agreement. What does this mean to you? If you already have a license as a vocational nurse, there are programs in place to help you move up the career ladder. The Arkansas Rural Nursing Education Consortium has eight member institutions. The goal is to help practicing nurses achieve RN/ ADN status without quitting work or moving out of their community. There will be later options to move from ADN to BSN status if you choose; indeed, this is something that many students do online. If it is an option for you, though, you may want to enroll in an LPN to BSN program at the onset.

There are also RN transition options for RTs, paramedics, and people with degrees in other health professions. Other second career nursing students may enroll in accelerated BSN programs.

If you want to get through school and out into the workforce even sooner, the CLEP may allow you to test out of general courses. Baptist Health Schools-Little Rock, for example, accepts four basic skills courses: composition, sociology, psychology, and algebra. Schools vary a good deal when it comes to transfer credits and credits earned through testing. This is one reason it’s good to solicit information from multiple schools. Don’t forget, though, to also take into account the school’s reputation.

Registered Nursing Career Outlook in Arkansas

A 2010 survey by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing found that job prospects for BSN and entry-level MSN graduates were better in the south than in any other part of the country. The survey was carried out in 2010 and reflected the previous two years. The respondents, who were college deans, indicated that 82% of their graduates had job offers upon graduation. And four to six months later? By then, it was a perfect 100%.

This doesn’t mean that you have a 100% chance of landing that first job straight out of school. Healthcare is a necessity, not a luxury, but this doesn’t mean it isn’t affected to some degree by downturns in the economy. Some nurses choose to delay retirement. Patients, meanwhile, choose to put off some procedures. Long term, though, you can expect to see a continued demand for professional nurses.

The Nursing School Application Process

Some universities have a comprehensive, multi-step application process. A representative of HOSA (the Health Occupations Students Association) informs prospective nurses that professionalism and leadership are valued. Before you begin the application process, you’ll want to take stock of both your background experiences and your goals. There may be essays or interviews. At Jefferson Regional Medical Center, for instance, candidates write about what they have been doing since graduation (if they are not a recent graduate) and about their experiences within the healthcare field.

Realize that your grades in science may be weighted more heavily than your other grades. Admission policies vary from school to school, but some institutions do publish these. At Northwest Community College, you are awarded points on a class by class basis, depending on whether you got an A, B, or C.

Associate Degree Nursing Programs Approved by the Arkansas State Board of Nursing

ARKANSAS NORTHEASTERN COLLEGE-BLYTHEVILLE
(Formerly Mississippi County Community College)
Department of Nursing
P. O. Box 1109
Blytheville, AR 72316
EAST ARKANSAS COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Department of Nursing
1700 New Castle Road
Forrest City, AR 72335-9598
AR RURAL NURSING EDUCATION CONSORTIUM (ARNEC)
1558 Hwy. 371 West (P. O. Box 509)
Nashville, AR 71852

NATIONAL PARK COMMUNITY COLLEGE
(Formerly Garland County Community College)
Division of Nursing
101 College Drive
Hot Springs, AR 71913
ARKANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY
Department of Nursing
P. O. Box 910
State University, AR 72467

OUACHITA TECHNICAL COLLEGE
One College Circle
Malvern, AR 72401
PHILLIPS COMMUNITY COLLEGE
of the University of Arkansas
Department of Nursing
P. O. Box 785
Helena-West Helena, AR 72342
UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS COMMUNITY COLLEGE/BATESVILLE
LPN/LPTN-to-RN Program
P. O. Box 3350
Batesville, AR 72503
SOUTHEAST ARKANSAS COLLEGE
Nursing and Allied Health Technologies Division
1900 Hazel Street
Pine Bluff, AR 71603
UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT LITTLE ROCK
Department of Nursing
2801 South University
Little Rock, AR 72204
SOUTHERN ARKANSAS UNIVERSITY
Department of Nursing
P. O. Box 9406
Magnolia, AR 71754-9406
UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT FORT SMITH
Carolyn McKelvey Moore School of Nursing
P. O. Box 3649
Fort Smith, AR 72913-3649
UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT MONTICELLO
Division of Nursing
LPN/LPTN-to-RN Program
P. O. Box 3606
Monticello, AR 71656-3606

Arkansas State Board of Nursing Approved Baccalaureate in Nursing (BSN) Programs

ARKANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY
Department of Nursing
P. O. Box 910
State University, AR 72467
UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS FOR MEDICAL SCIENCES
College of Nursing
4301 W. Markham, Slot 529
Little Rock, AR 72205
ARKANSAS TECH UNIVERSITY
Department of Nursing
Dean Hall
Russellville, AR 72801-2222
UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT MONTICELLO
Division of Nursing
P. O. Box 3606
Monticello, AR 71656-3606
HARDING UNIVERSITY
College of Nursing
Box 12265
Searcy, AR 72149-0001
UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT PINE BLUFF
Department of Nursing
1200 University Drive, Slot 4973
Pine Bluff, AR 71601
SOUTHERN ARKANSAS UNIVERSITY
Department of Nursing (BSN completion only)
300 E. University
Magnolia, AR 71754-9406

UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL ARKANSAS
Department of Nursing
201 Donaghey Avenue
Conway, AR 72035

UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT FORT SMITH
Carolyn McKelvey Moore School of Nursing
P. O. Box 3649
Fort Smith, AR 72913

UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS
Eleanor Mann School of Nursing
217 Ozark Hall
Fayetteville, AR 72701

 

 

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