How to Choose the Best Nursing School near Tanaina Alaska
Selecting the right nursing college near Tanaina AK may feel like a complicated endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is local to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are various crucial additional considerations to investigate before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as Tanaina AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing 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 higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Tanaina AK area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as 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) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 typically a two 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.
When a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Training
There are generally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, 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 alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide 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 another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study 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 attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at Tanaina AK area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three 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 training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction mandated and that each state has its own requirements. So it's essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state certified. Along with 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.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend classes for some Tanaina AK students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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 job and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Tanaina AK or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Tanaina AK for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding 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 assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Alaska school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Tanaina 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 schools 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Tanaina AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Tanaina AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Best Tanaina Nursing College
Choosing the ideal registered nursing college is probably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are various variables that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed within this article, it is critical that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Tanaina AK.