How to Find the Right Nursing Program in Eagle River Alaska
Locating the right nursing school in Eagle River AK may seem like a difficult endeavor, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Having said that, too many future students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the nursing school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to select a nursing program. There are many essential additional factors to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system in Eagle River AK. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses in Eagle River AK with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally 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 Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in Eagle River AK.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in Eagle River AK medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Eagle River AK colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish to advance 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 2 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, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Eagle River AK board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Training
There are principally two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Eagle River AK approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus effectively 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 obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive 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 minimal period of training required and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for Eagle River AK to make sure that the training is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local Eagle River AK healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Eagle River AK and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.
- 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 agency. In addition to helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools in Eagle River AK.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified 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 provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Eagle River 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 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 dissatisfied 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 favorable reputation within the Eagle River AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Eagle River AK clinical environment. Virtually all Alaska nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Degree in Eagle River AK
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing program is probably the most important step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are various aspects that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Eagle River AK.
Why Did You Want to Become an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that interviewers often ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a RN, but also what attributes and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should ready some ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the leading choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down some ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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