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How to Select the Right Nursing Program near Bethel Alaska

Bethel Alaska nurse with physician and patientSelecting the best nursing school near Bethel AK may seem like a complicated undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various crucial additional considerations to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Bethel Alaska RN taking care of a senior patient

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Bethel AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Maintaining 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 often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide 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 obtain 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 descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Bethel AK area.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four 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 might 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 usually a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.

LPN and LVN Programs

Bethel Alaska LVN holding door for patient using crutchesThere are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it needs to 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 course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

CNA Courses

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at Bethel AK area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training required and each state has its own prerequisites. So it's crucial 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 tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.

Online Nursing Courses

Bethel Alaska nurse assisting surgeon with operationAttending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some Bethel AK students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Once you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Bethel AK or online, you can use the following pointers 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 essential to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other programs.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Bethel AK for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Bethel 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 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 superb reputation within the Bethel AK medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships 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 setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Bethel AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Find Out More About Bethel Nursing Accelerated Programs

Pick the Best Bethel Nursing College

Picking the ideal registered nursing school is potentially the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are numerous variables that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you choose an RN school 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 develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Bethel AK.



 

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