How to Choose a Nursing School in Petersburg Alaska
Selecting the best nursing college in Petersburg AK may feel like a formidable project, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Having said that, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the nursing school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are many essential additional things to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system in Petersburg AK. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses in Petersburg AK with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And 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 advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in Petersburg AK.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in Petersburg AK healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Petersburg AK 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 might want 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 commonly a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained 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. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Petersburg AK board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are basically two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, normally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Petersburg AK approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training directed and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for Petersburg AK to make sure that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local Petersburg AK healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Petersburg AK and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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. In addition to helping ensure 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 in Petersburg AK.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Petersburg 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 programs 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 favorable reputation within the Petersburg AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Petersburg AK clinical environment. Almost all Alaska nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Degree in Petersburg AK
Choosing the right registered nursing school is probably the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of aspects that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Petersburg AK.
Why Did You Want to Be an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's important to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the things that recruiters typically ask nursing applicants is "What made you select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a registered nurse, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you have that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to ready a number of ideas about how you want to address them. Given that there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the abilities you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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