How to Find the Right Nursing Degree Program near Fort Wainwright Alaska
Locating the best nursing program near Fort Wainwright AK may feel like a formidable undertaking, especially if you have no idea 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 receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are several essential additional things to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Fort Wainwright AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often 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 are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Fort Wainwright AK area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire 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 commonly a 2 year program after attaining 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 obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Training
There are essentially two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest period of time, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type 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 attests that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of 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 received at Fort Wainwright AK area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive 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 minimal period of instruction directed and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more preferred way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many Fort Wainwright AK students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many 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 little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Fort Wainwright AK or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. 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 choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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 obtain a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Fort Wainwright AK for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, contact the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Fort Wainwright AK healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Fort Wainwright AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Fort Wainwright AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Fort Wainwright AK?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Fort Wainwright Alaska area. If that is the case, then the following information may prove to be both educational and useful regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Fort Wainwright is a United States Army post adjacent to Fairbanks in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is part of the Fairbanks, Alaska Metropolitan Statistical Area. Since 1978 Fort Wainwright has been investigating and cleaning up soil and water contamination from a landfill and drum burial site, fuel terminal, coal storage yard/fire training pits, open detonation area and underground storage tanks. It was Superfund-listed in 1990.
It was first established in 1939 as U.S. Army Air Corps as Ladd Field. In 1947 it was transferred to the newly established U.S. Air Force and renamed Ladd AFB, serving as a cold weather station to test aircraft under arctic conditions. In 1961 it was transferred to the Army and redesignated Fort Wainwright in honor of World War II general Jonathan Wainwright. From 1963 to 1972 it was home to the 171st Infantry Brigade, mechanized until 1969, then light. During that time, the 172nd Infantry Brigade was at Fort Richardson, in Anchorage. From 1986 to 1998 Fort Wainwright was the home of the 6th Infantry Division (Light), and served as the division's headquarters from 1990 to 1994. From 1998 to 2006, it was home to the 172nd Infantry Brigade, which was reorganized in 2003 as the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT), part of the U.S. Army's transition program to include six SBCTs. In 2006, the 172nd was re-flagged as the 1st brigade of the 25th Infantry Division. Fort Wainwright was also the home of Task Force 49, an aviation brigade that provides logistical air support for U.S. Army Alaska, Bassett Army Community Hospital and the Bureau of Land Management's Alaska Fire Service which later transformed to become a part of 16th Combat Aviation Brigade with headquarters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA in 2010 with duty in Alaska.
Since 1978 Fort Wainwright has been participating in the Department of Defense Installation Restoration Program to investigate and clean up contamination. In 1985 and 1986, lead and chromium were detected in monitoring wells at the landfill; in 1987, chromium and tetrahydrofuran were detected in monitoring wells at the proposed housing area, and chromium was detected in soil. About 15,000 people live and work at the fort and obtain drinking water from wells in close proximity to contaminated source areas. The Chena River also runs through the contaminated area of Fort Wainwright.
Pick the Right Nursing College near Fort Wainwright AK
Selecting the right nursing college is perhaps the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of aspects that you should think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Fort Wainwright AK.
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