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Nursing Past, Present, & Future

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Once upon a time, the ranks of new nurses graduating from training programs in Arkansas were made up of white, unmarried young ladies, prim in their long skirts and starched white pinafores and caps, prepared to go out into the world and follow male doctors’ orders unquestioningly.

If you’re just contemplating a career in nursing, you’ve probably never heard of the Magnet Recognition Program. But you will — especially if you study or work at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences or Arkansas Children’s Hospital, which are in the middle of the multi-year process of applying for Magnet designation.



Nursing Education

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The profession of nursing encompasses a range of education and credential levels. Depending on your age, financial situation, family obligations or other factors, you could take the quickest route to a nursing job, or choose to spend more time in school up front and eventually start working at a higher level. For most nurses today, education is a career-long endeavor — something that has been made easier with the growth of online degree programs.



Degrees of Nursing

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Whether you’re looking to attend school for two years or four, part-time or full, Arkansas’s colleges and universities have a number of programs that will get you on the path to a nursing career. Read about the different nursing degrees below and then check out the chart for schools that best meet your needs.



Showing you the Money

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Arkansas’s colleges and universities are welcoming students in large numbers with a variety of degrees, such as two- and four-year, on-campus, online or a hybrid, fitted to your needs. Whether you’re a recent high school graduate or even if you’ve been out of school for a while, don’t let money woes keep you from completing a nursing degree. There’s plenty of financial help available if you just know where to look, and a little help can go a long way.

Experts recommend making an appointment with your high school counselor early in your high school career so you can design an academic path to follow. Once you’ve selected a college or university, check with the financial aid office for available scholarships or grants.



Where the Jobs are

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One of the best things about becoming a nurse is the wide range of choices nurses have about exactly what they want to do. Nurses of every stripe are in short supply nationwide, but as the health care system itself undergoes major changes and the U.S. population continues to age, the nursing profession is seeing major shifts in what kind of nursing skills will be most in demand for today’s nursing school graduates.



The Second Time Around

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It may seem like there’s no safe haven in the uncertain economy of the past few years — but nursing comes very close. With an unemployment rate of just 2.2 percent nationwide and an average salary in Arkansas of about $57,000, it’s hard to imagine a more attractive place to land for someone who’s looking to jump from their current career ship.

“If you look at the classified ads, you can always get a job in nursing,” said Dr. Pegge Bell, director of the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing at the University of Arkansas. That can be a comfort to a family or individual who’s been through or just feared going through a layoff or stretch of unemployment.



Don't Wait Till you Graduate

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So you want to be a nurse, and you’ve even got a dream job picked out — all you’ve got to do is finish nursing school, and then you’ll start sending out the resumes. Right?

Wrong.

Smart nursing students begin preparing for the job search and marketing themselves to potential employers long before they have that nursing license in their hands, say area nurses who are involved with hiring at their institutions. But how? There are several ways.



A "Magnet" For Quality

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If you’re just contemplating a career in nursing, you’ve probably never heard of the Magnet Recognition Program. But you will — especially if you study or work at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences or Arkansas Children’s Hospital, which are in the middle of the multi-year process of applying for Magnet designation.

So what is it? The Magnet Recognition Program was developed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to recognize health care organizations that demonstrate quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice. The ANCC describes it as “the ultimate credential for high quality nursing” and “the leading source of successful nursing practices and strategies worldwide.” The process of securing Magnet designation also benefits other hospital employees as well, according to the website, because it affects the entire culture of the institution.

 



 
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