How to Select a Nursing Program in Gustavus Alaska
Choosing the right nursing college near Gustavus AK may seem like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper 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 final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is local to your residence is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are various crucial additional things to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Gustavus AK healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role 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 along with where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher 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 administer primary or specialty care services in Gustavus AK, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in Gustavus AK. And in order 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 continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by Alaska community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four 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 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 achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Gustavus AK or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired 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. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are generally two academic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Gustavus AK. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind 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 warrants 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 some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Gustavus AK area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Alaska to make certain that the training course 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 may be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more favored 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 almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Gustavus AK home, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many 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 commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school relative to Gustavus AK and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Gustavus AK.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Gustavus AK area school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations 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 check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Gustavus 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 schools 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 superb reputation within the Gustavus AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Gustavus AK area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Program near Gustavus AK
Deciding on the right registered nursing degree program is arguably the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are numerous variables that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this article, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent 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 final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Gustavus AK.
Why Did You Decide to Become an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for being a nurse, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must organize several ideas about how you would like to address them. Since there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the best candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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