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How to Find the Best Nursing College near Fishhook Alaska

Fishhook Alaska RN with physician and patientLocating the best nursing college near Fishhook AK may feel like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are many crucial additional considerations to investigate before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Fishhook Alaska RN talking to a senior patient

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Fishhook AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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 just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Fishhook AK area.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically 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 may desire 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 commonly a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has acquired 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. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.

LPN Programs

Fishhook Alaska LPN greeting patient on crutchesThere are generally two academic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it should be Alaska approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

CNA Diplomas

In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at Fishhook AK area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and each state has its own requirements. So it's essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact 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 other requirements as well.

Nursing Online Courses

Fishhook Alaska nurse assisting surgeon in operating roomEnrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend college for some Fishhook AK students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Now that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Fishhook AK or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.

  • 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 agency. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Fishhook AK for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some 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 enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Fishhook 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Fishhook AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Fishhook AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Find Out More About Fishhook Nursing Accelerated Programs

Choose the Best Fishhook Nursing Program

Picking the right registered nursing school is potentially the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed in this article, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Fishhook AK.



 

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