How to Find the Right Nursing College in Wrangell Alaska
Selecting the right nursing school near Wrangell AK may feel like a complicated undertaking, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of important additional factors to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Wrangell AK medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level 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 Wrangell AK, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in Wrangell AK. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Alaska community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Alaska colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 usually a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Wrangell AK or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When 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 don’t forget to check with the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two scholastic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Wrangell AK. The one that may be finished in the shortest time frame, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, 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 course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Wrangell AK area. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to 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 have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for Alaska to make sure that the training course is state approved. Along with 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 Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Alaska. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Wrangell AK home, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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. Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly 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 select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school relative to Wrangell AK along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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. Besides helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Wrangell AK.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed 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 Wrangell AK area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares 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 considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Wrangell 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Wrangell AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Wrangell AK area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN School near Wrangell AK
Deciding on the right registered nursing college is probably the most critical phase to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this article, it is essential that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Wrangell AK.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Registered Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to consider questions you could be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a registered nurse, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should organize a number of ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the abilities you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the leading choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Some Other Cities in Alaska