How to Find the Right Nursing Training near Gateway Alaska
Choosing the best nursing school near Gateway AK may seem like a formidable project, 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 must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of key additional considerations to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Gateway AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Gateway AK area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive 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 prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 typically a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained 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. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are basically two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish 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 some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at Gateway AK area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training 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 might be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend college for many Gateway AK students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary 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 responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Gateway AK or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Gateway 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Gateway 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Gateway AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Gateway AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Gateway Nursing School
Deciding on the right registered nursing program is potentially the most important first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many factors that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this article, it is critical that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Gateway AK.