How to Find the Right Nursing College in Whittier Alaska
Locating the right nursing program near Whittier AK may feel like a complicated endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are various important additional aspects to explore before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Whittier AK healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to assist 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 few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of 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 deliver primary or specialty care services in Whittier AK, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse in Whittier AK. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by Alaska community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth 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 past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 usually a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Whittier 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 vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are generally two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Whittier AK. The one that may be finished in the shortest time frame, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of 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 attests that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Whittier AK area. The length of the instruction 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 required to receive 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 instruction directed and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise 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 education is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to get training and acquire a nursing degree in Alaska. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Whittier AK home, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more 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 job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school relative to Whittier AK and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Whittier AK.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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 imperative that the Whittier AK area school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Whittier 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 programs you are considering 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 unhappy 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 favorable reputation within the Whittier AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Whittier AK area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN College near Whittier AK
Picking the right registered nursing program is potentially the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various factors that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this article, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Whittier AK.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a registered nurse, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready several ideas about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the best candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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