How to Choose a Nursing College near Pilot Station Alaska
Finding the best nursing college near Pilot Station AK may seem like a complicated undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are several key additional considerations to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Pilot Station AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Pilot Station AK area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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 fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are principally two academic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest period of time, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it should be Alaska approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Pilot Station AK area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program 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 instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training 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 might be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for many Pilot Station AK students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Pilot Station AK or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up 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. Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Pilot Station AK for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Pilot Station 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Pilot Station AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Pilot Station AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Pilot Station AK?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Pilot Station 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.
Pilot Station, Alaska
Pilot Station is located at 61°56′10″N 162°53′0″W / 61.93611°N 162.88333°W / 61.93611; -162.88333 (61.936050, -162.883403), on the northern bank of the lower Yukon River, approximately eighty miles ('as the crow flies') from the Bering Sea.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.3 square miles (6.0 km2), of which, 1.7 square miles (4.4 km2) of it is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km2) of it (25.55%) is water.
Pilot Station first appeared on the 1890 U.S. Census as the unincorporated Inuit village of "Ankahchagmiut." It did not report again until 1920, then as Pilot Station. It formally incorporated in 1969.
Pick the Right Nursing College near Pilot Station AK
Picking the ideal nursing program is potentially the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of aspects that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out within 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 healthcare community. By using 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 ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Pilot Station AK.
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