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How to Enroll In the Right Nursing Degree Program near Tanaina Alaska

Tanaina Alaska RN with doctor and patientChoosing the right nursing school near Tanaina AK may feel like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school 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. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is local to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are several important additional aspects to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Tanaina Alaska RN taking care of a senior patient

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as Tanaina AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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

There are multiple degrees 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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Tanaina AK area.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 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 afterwards obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 job market.
  • Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

Once 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) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.

LPN Programs

Tanaina Alaska LPN greeting patient on crutchesThere are essentially two scholastic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time period, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Alaska approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other 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 Training

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Tanaina AK area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three 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 have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training directed and each state has its own requirements. So it's necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state approved. 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.

Online Nursing Programs

Tanaina Alaska RN assisting surgeon with operationAttending nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend college for many Tanaina AK students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, 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 job and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Tanaina AK or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Tanaina AK for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with 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 essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Tanaina 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 finish 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Tanaina AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Tanaina AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Tanaina Nursing Colleges

Enroll in the Best Tanaina Nursing Degree Program

Picking the ideal registered nursing school is arguably the most important step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are many factors that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is important that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Tanaina AK.



 

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