How to Select the Best Nursing Course near Wasilla Alaska
Finding the best nursing program near Wasilla AK may feel like a complex endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is local to your residence is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of key additional considerations to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Wasilla AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Wasilla AK area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 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 wish 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 attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained 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. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are principally two academic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest period of time, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from 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 attests that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Wasilla AK area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive 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 instruction directed and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it's necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with 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 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 additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend college for some Wasilla AK students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Wasilla AK or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the field.
- 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 agency. In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Wasilla 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) along with 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers 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 online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Wasilla 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 programs 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Wasilla AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Wasilla AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Wasilla Nursing School
Enrolling in the right registered nursing college is potentially the most important step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous variables that you must think about when deciding on 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 post, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care 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 ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Wasilla AK.