How to Find the Right Nursing Program in Seward Alaska
Searching for the right nursing school near Seward AK may feel like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is local to your house is probably not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are various important additional things to explore before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Seward AK healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend 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
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Seward AK, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in Seward AK. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 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 offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by Alaska community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Alaska colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Seward AK or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has obtained 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 contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are generally two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Seward AK. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind 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 syllabus 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 need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Seward 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 training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets 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. 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 Classes
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Alaska. Some schools will require attendance 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 center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Seward AK home, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school relative to Seward AK as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
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 agency. Aside from helping verify that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Seward 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Seward AK area school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Seward AK healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Seward AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Seward AK area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Course near Seward AK
Choosing the right registered nursing program is probably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are various aspects that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 RN in Seward AK.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a nurse, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you should ready several ideas about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Some Other Cities in Alaska