How to Choose a Nursing College in Haines Alaska
Choosing the right nursing college in Haines AK may seem like a difficult project, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the nursing school. Going with the least costly college or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of important additional things to explore before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system in Haines AK. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses in Haines AK with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in Haines AK.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in Haines AK healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Haines AK colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 normally a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned 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. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Haines AK board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are generally two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be Haines AK approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any 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 some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within 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. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for Haines AK to make certain that the education is state approved. In addition to 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
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local Haines AK healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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 job and household obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Haines AK and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools in Haines AK.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Haines 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 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Haines AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Haines AK clinical environment. Virtually all Alaska nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Degree in Haines AK
Selecting the ideal registered nursing program is probably the most critical first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous variables that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this article, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist 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 drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Haines AK.
Why Did You Choose to Become an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters often ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the private reasons you may have for becoming a registered nurse, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should ready some approaches about how you want to respond to them. Since there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down some ideas and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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