How to Enroll In a Nursing Program in Nikiski Alaska
Selecting the right nursing college near Nikiski AK may feel like a formidable undertaking, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is local to your home is no doubt 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 job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Nikiski AK healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, 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
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Nikiski AK, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse in Nikiski 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 continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available by Alaska community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Alaska 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 progress 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 acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Nikiski AK or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are essentially two academic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Nikiski AK. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time period, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be Alaska approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Nikiski AK area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under 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 amount of training required and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally 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 approved. In addition to 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.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and earn a nursing degree in Alaska. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Nikiski AK home, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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 work and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward 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 Courses
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school relative to Nikiski AK as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you get a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Nikiski AK.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Nikiski AK area school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Nikiski 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 colleges 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Nikiski AK medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Nikiski AK area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right RN College near Nikiski AK
Choosing the ideal registered nursing degree program is probably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are various factors that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this article, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Nikiski AK.
Why Did You Want to Become an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to review questions you might be asked. Among the things that hiring managers frequently ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the private reasons you may have for being a nurse, but additionally what qualities and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the best candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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