How to Choose a Nursing School near Port Alexander Alaska
Searching for the right nursing college near Port Alexander AK may feel like a challenging endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are various important additional factors to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Port Alexander AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating 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 advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Port Alexander AK area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four 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 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 typically a 2 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.
Once a graduating student has received 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. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two academic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest time frame, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other choice 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 benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more comprehensive 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 some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus adequately 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 Port Alexander AK area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend school for many Port Alexander AK students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many 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 household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Port Alexander AK or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, 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 field.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Port Alexander AK for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Port Alexander 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Port Alexander AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Port Alexander AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Port Alexander AK?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Port Alexander 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.
Port Alexander, Alaska
Port Alexander originally incorporated in 1936. It became a part of the Greater Sitka Borough in 1963, following the state legislature's passage of the Mandatory Borough Act. The original municipality was dissolved when it unified with Sitka's city and borough governments in 1971, which formed the present-day entity known as the City and Borough of Sitka. However, residents were unhappy with the arrangement, and successfully sought to detach themselves from the new municipality. Port Alexander reincorporated as a second class city in 1974.
Port Alexander is the only city on a small sliver of land at the southeastern corner of Baranof Island that is not part of the City and Borough of Sitka. It comprises less than one-quarter of one percent of Baranof Island's land area.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.1 square miles (39 km2), of which, 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2) of it is land and 11.3 square miles (29 km2) of it (74.88%) is water.
Pick the Right Nursing College near Port Alexander AK
Picking the ideal nursing degree program is perhaps the most important step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of variables that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Port Alexander AK.
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