How to Find the Right Nursing Program in Soldotna Alaska
Selecting the right nursing college in Soldotna AK may seem like a complicated project, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the nursing school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your home is probably not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are many key additional considerations to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system in Soldotna AK. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses in Soldotna AK with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine 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 enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two 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 offered in Soldotna AK.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in Soldotna AK healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Soldotna AK colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received 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. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Soldotna AK board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are basically two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest amount of time, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Soldotna AK approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus 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 have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to 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 must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of training mandated and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for Soldotna AK to make sure that the education is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local Soldotna AK healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Courses
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Soldotna AK and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, 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 along with 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 help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools in Soldotna AK.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Soldotna 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 programs 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 dissatisfied 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 Soldotna AK medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Soldotna AK clinical environment. Almost all Alaska nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN School in Soldotna AK
Picking the right registered nursing program is probably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are various aspects that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is critical that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Soldotna AK.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Registered Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the questions that recruiters typically ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a registered nurse, but additionally what attributes and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you should prepare several approaches about how you would like to address them. Because there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the best candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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