How to Pick the Best Nursing Training near Meadow Lakes Alaska
Locating the right nursing school near Meadow Lakes AK may seem like a difficult undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, 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 essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is local to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are many key additional considerations to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Meadow Lakes AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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 are multiple degrees to choose from 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 just 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Meadow Lakes AK area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a two year program after receiving 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, 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 fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time period, typically about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind 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 attests that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Meadow Lakes 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, resulting in 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 have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction required and every state has its specific requirements. So it's crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise 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 certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend college for some Meadow Lakes AK students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Meadow Lakes AK or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous 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 earlier discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- 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. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Meadow Lakes 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. Some 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 enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, 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 Meadow Lakes AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs you are considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Meadow Lakes AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
- 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Meadow Lakes AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right Meadow Lakes Nursing Program
Choosing the right registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most critical first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are various factors that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed within this article, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each 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 choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Meadow Lakes AK.