How to Enroll In the Right Nursing Program near Bethel Alaska
Searching for the right nursing school near Bethel AK may feel like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are many essential additional factors to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Bethel AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend 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 six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Bethel AK area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish to progress 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 attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are essentially two scholastic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, typically about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it should be Alaska approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus properly 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 need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at Bethel AK area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally 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 certain that the training course is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Courses
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for many Bethel AK students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Bethel AK or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
- 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 organization. Besides helping verify that you get an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Bethel AK for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Alaska school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Bethel AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs you are looking at 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Bethel AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
- 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Bethel AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Right Bethel Nursing School
Picking the ideal registered nursing school is perhaps the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many aspects that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is important that you select 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 develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Bethel AK.