How to Find the Right Nursing College in Valdez Alaska
Selecting the right nursing school near Valdez AK may seem like a complicated endeavor, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is local to your home is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional aspects to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Valdez AK medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Valdez 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 Valdez AK. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to achieve 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 2 year program made available by Alaska community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly 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 wish to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Valdez AK or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Valdez AK. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Alaska approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum adequately 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 obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Valdez AK area. The length of the training 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 mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction required and every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for Alaska to make sure that the training course is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree in Alaska. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually 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 Valdez AK home, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend classes for many 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 minimized, helping to make education more 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 family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school relative to Valdez AK along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Valdez AK.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ 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. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Valdez AK area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Valdez 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 colleges you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Valdez AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Valdez AK area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Right RN College near Valdez AK
Selecting the ideal registered nursing school is potentially the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of aspects that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed within this post, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Valdez AK.
Why Did You Want to Be a Registered Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers frequently ask nursing candidates is "What made you choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a nurse, but also what qualities and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you should ready several ideas about how you want to address them. Since there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the talents you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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