How to Choose a Nursing School in Cordova Alaska
Searching for the right nursing college near Cordova AK may seem like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is local to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of key additional aspects to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Cordova AK medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend 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
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced 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 in Cordova AK, 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 in Cordova AK. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by Alaska community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Alaska 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 desire 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 generally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Cordova AK or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are basically two academic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Cordova AK. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it should 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 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 instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Cordova AK area. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Alaska to make certain that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree in Alaska. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Cordova AK home, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school relative to Cordova AK as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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 organization. Aside from helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Cordova AK.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Cordova AK area school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Cordova 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 schools 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 unhappy 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 favorable reputation within the Cordova AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Cordova AK area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Program near Cordova AK
Choosing the ideal registered nursing college is probably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of variables that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is critical that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Cordova AK.
Why Did You Choose to Be an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's important to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that interviewers often ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a nurse, but also what qualities and abilities you have that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must prepare several ideas about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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