How to Choose the Best Nursing Course near Badger Alaska
Locating the best nursing program near Badger AK may feel like a complicated project, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are several crucial additional things to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Badger AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring 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 more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Badger AK area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 typically a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has acquired 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. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are principally two academic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it should be Alaska approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at Badger AK area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend college for some Badger AK students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Badger AK or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Badger AK for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alaska school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Badger AK 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 colleges you are considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Badger AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Badger AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Right Badger Nursing Degree Program
Selecting the right registered nursing school is perhaps the most important phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of aspects that you should think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is essential that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Badger AK.