How to Choose a Nursing College near Point Lay Alaska
Choosing the right nursing school near Point Lay AK may seem like a challenging project, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are various key additional things to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Point Lay AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Point Lay 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 including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained 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 can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Training
There are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it should be Alaska approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Point Lay AK area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 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 must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training mandated and that each state has its specific requirements. 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 suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course 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 requirements as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some Point Lay AK students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Point Lay AK or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Point Lay AK for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ 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. Many states require a certain 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 provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Point Lay AK healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Point Lay AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Point Lay AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Point Lay AK?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Point Lay 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.
Point Lay, Alaska
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 34.5 square miles (89 km2), of which, 30.5 square miles (79 km2) of it is land and 4.0 square miles (10 km2) of it (11.66%) is water.
Point Lay once was on a barrier island of Kasegaluk Lagoon, but moved to the mainland near the mouth of the Kokolik River during the 1970s.  A weather station was operated from October 1949 to March 1958.
Point Lay first appeared on the 1880 U.S. Census as an unincorporated Inuit village. All 30 of its residents were Inuit. It returned again in 1890 with 77 residents, all native. It did not appear again until 1940 and again in 1950. The original settlement on the barrier island was relocated a mile to the east on the mainland in the 1970s. The new village of Point Lay returned on the 1980 U.S. Census and was made a census-designated place (CDP). It has continued to return on each successive census.
Choose the Right Nursing Program near Point Lay AK
Deciding on the right nursing degree program is perhaps the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is important that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Point Lay AK.
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