How to Select a Nursing Program in Ketchikan Alaska
Locating the right nursing program near Ketchikan AK may seem like a complicated endeavor, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive college 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 factors to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Ketchikan AK medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Ketchikan AK, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in Ketchikan AK. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by Alaska community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Alaska 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 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 commonly a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Ketchikan AK or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are generally two academic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Ketchikan AK. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, 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 core curriculum 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 obtain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Ketchikan AK area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Alaska to make certain that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree in Alaska. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Ketchikan AK home, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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. 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 program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school relative to Ketchikan AK as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Ketchikan AK.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Ketchikan AK area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Ketchikan AK healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Ketchikan AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Ketchikan AK area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Degree near Ketchikan AK
Selecting the right registered nursing school is perhaps the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous factors that you must think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Ketchikan AK.
Why Did You Decide to Become an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a nurse, but additionally what attributes and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare some strategies about how you want to answer them. Considering there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the talents you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down several concepts and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Some Other Cities in Alaska