Nursing Programs in Arkansas
You want to make a difference in healthcare, and you likely understand that nursing is one of the most effective ways to make your mark in this industry. Whether you currently work as a nursing professional or are completely new to healthcare, there are undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral program options to explore. On this page you’ll learn about the most nursing careers, nursing education, and popular nursing programs and schools in the state, Contacting nursing colleges in Arkansas is a great way to learn more about their learning goals and how they help students prepare for the workforce. Contact one of the schools in the featured school box below, or use the quick search “Find Schools Near You” box to find options.
If you’re ready to take the next step in your education by earning an RN or LPN degree, learn more about nursing programs in Arkansas by requesting program materials. Once you’ve had a chance to review your options, you should be able to choose the program that will best fit your needs.
Nursing Education in Arkansas
As you decide which nursing degree you decide to earn, be aware that new technology and education standards are making nursing education more efficient than ever. You may even be able to complete some of your schooling via Arkansas online nursing programs.
Arkansas Nursing College Bridge Programs
You may already have a degree, in which case the programs listed above may not be a perfect fit for you. If you have a nursing degree or a non-nursing degree, an Arkansas nursing degree bridge program may be the ideal solution for you.
Some programs are intended for those who have a nursing degree, diploma, or certificate. Such programs make nursing education more accessible to LPNs with several years of experience. Depending on your school, you may need to complete clinical rotations to broaden your scope of practice. RN to BSN programs, however, can often be done mostly online if you have several years of full-time nursing experience.
Some nursing schools in Arkansas have RN to MSN programs that combine BSN and MSN coursework. This limits the amount of time you spend waiting to get accepted to a program and streamlines your transition to an advanced nursing role. The new (UALR) program mentioned above is a form of this bridge program, with its accelerated associate’s degree, RN license availability and hospital placement.
Other programs help bachelor’s graduates move from other industries into nursing. Consider the accelerated BSN, which helps people earn their second bachelor’s degree in 12 to 18 months of fast-paced nursing education.
Nursing Degree Programs in Arkansas
Below is a list of popular schools in Arkansas, their locations, and the programs they offer.
|UCA School of Nursing||Bachelor’s and master’s programs and a practice-focused Doctor of Nursing Practice||Conway|
|University of Arkansas Eleanor Mann School of Nursing||BSN, RN to BSN, online Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice||Fayetteville|
|Baptist Health Schools||Practical and Registered Nursing||Little Rock|
|Southern Arkansas University||BSN and RN-BSN online||Magnolia|
The shortest option is an LPN degree. This diploma program generally takes one year or less of full-time study. It may allow you to work underneath RNs and advanced practice nurses. There are two main options for registered nursing degrees. The first is an associate’s degree in nursing, which requires two years of study. A bachelor’s degree may give you more training in different nursing specialties, so it generally takes about four years of work.
Learning outcomes in Arkansas are designed to help you develop a comprehensive set of nursing skills and become a contributing member of the healthcare community. As you proceed through your degree, you may need to develop a sense of nursing leadership, deliver evidence-based care to patients of different needs, properly use nursing technologies, and use communication techniques with other health care professionals and patients.
Tips for Choosing the Top Nursing Schools in Arkansas
A lot goes into your selection of a nursing school, so don’t rush your choice. Programs often accept students for fall and spring start dates, so carefully evaluate each school to figure out if it’s a good fit for you. You may spend up to four years in a nursing program, so you want to feel comfortable there as you grow from a nursing student into a nursing professional.
What to Consider as You Contact Nursing Schools
- Is the school accredited by the CCNE, the ACEN, or another national accreditation agency?
- Is the school’s program Arkansas State Board of Nursing approved?
- How many students are accepted to the nursing program each year?
- What resources are available for graduating students in terms of NCLEX preparation and job hunting?
- What is the NCLEX pass rate for the program you’re considering?
- Where do students complete clinical rotations and how many hours do they complete by graduation?
Once you’ve narrowed down your list to a handful of programs, you should set aside time to tour each school on your list. A personal visit gives you invaluable opportunities to see lab courses in progress, observe lecture courses, and see study facilities first hand.
Arkansas Nursing School Financial Aid and Scholarships
The state’s scholarship, loan, and grant opportunities include:
- The UALR Scholarship Program, which awards scholarships twice per year worth $1,000 to $2,000 each.
- Some scholarships are school-specific, such as UAMS School of Nursing scholarships, so you may wish to look into the opportunities offered by your nursing program.
- The Arkansas State Board of Nursing is also a good source for financial aid, including Arkansas resident scholarships and loan repayment programs.
- The Arkansas Nurses Association offers two annual scholarships to students furthering their nursing education.
2017 Career Outlook for Arkansas Nursing Professions
If you’re interested in nursing in Arkansas, you may already know the state is experiencing a nursing shortage. The good news is the state, its hospitals and schools are taking a multi-pronged approach to addressing with the problem. One arm of that strategy is to focus on retention. The new, mandatory nursing residency program at Mercy Northwest in Northwest Arkansas aims to reduce turnover rates among new RNs.
The nursing shortage has forced some departments in the hospital that typically wouldn’t hire new graduates to do so; the residency program gives these new nurses an opportunity to get used to the various work environments — critical care and trauma for example. Nursing residents give the program positive reviews, saying it helps prevent them from being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of responsibilities they face almost immediately on the job.
Addressing the supply of new nurses is another arm of the state’s approach to boosting its nursing pool that’s already under way. The new Arkansas Colleges of Health Education facility in Fort Smith will welcome students in 2020.
The third component of statewide efforts to address dangerous nursing shortages is partnerships between schools and hospitals. As of May 2017, the University of Arkansas – Little Rock(UALR) has created a fast-tracking nursing degree bridge program with CHI St. Vincent. In the program, 40 new students annually will embark on an accelerated 18-month associate’s degree. Students are then eligible to earn their RN license and work at the hospital.
Because demand for nurses is high and projected to grow nationally, rural areas have more difficulty attracting nurses. In fact many rural parts of Arkansas hold nursing job fairs to try to keep new nursing graduates in the state. If you will fund your education with loans, you may look into loan forgiveness programs that require you to work in a Health Professional Shortage Area.
Demand and Salary Projections for Arkansas Nursing Graduates
Looking at job growth statistics shows you how desperately Arkansas needs nurses. Licensed practical nursing degree programs may help you pass the NCLEX-PN and get your license. Statewide demand for LPNs may grow 12% by the year 2024 (O*Net, 2017). Currently, Arkansas has among the country’s highest numbers of LPN jobs, which have an average salary of $36,800 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017).
If you take your education one step further by completing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, look into statewide need for registered nurses. Job growth may swell 15% by the year 2024 (O*Net, 2017). The average annual salary for an Arkansas registered nurse is $57,630 per year (BLS, 2017).
Since graduates of Arkansas nurse practitioner degree programs may provide independent care, they are in high demand. Job openings for nurse practitioners may increase a staggering 36% through 2024 (O*Net, 2017). Those who work in this role bring in an average salary of $89,440 per year (BLS, 2017).
The school you attend will likely shape your career. Keep in mind both the type and quantity of clinical experience you get are often key factors in your job options. You may also make connections at your institution that serve you well throughout your career.