How to Choose a Nursing Program near Wasilla Alaska
Locating the right nursing school near Wasilla AK may feel like a challenging project, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional things to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Wasilla AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to support doctors in the treatment 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. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced 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 administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Wasilla AK area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at 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 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 receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two academic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish 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 some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at Wasilla 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. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training mandated and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates 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 programs online is emerging as a more favored way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many Wasilla AK students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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. Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Wasilla AK or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Wasilla AK for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Wasilla 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Wasilla AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Wasilla AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Wasilla AK?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Wasilla 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.
Wasilla is a city in Matanuska-Susitna Borough, United States and the sixth-largest city in Alaska. It is located on the northern point of Cook Inlet in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley of the southcentral part of the state. The city's population was 7,831 at the 2010 census, up from 5,469 in 2000. Estimates in 2016 put the population at roughly 9,748. Wasilla is the largest city in the borough and a part of the Anchorage metropolitan area, which had an estimated population of 396,142 in 2013.
Established at the intersection of the Alaska Railroad and Old Carle Wagon Road, the city prospered at the expense of the nearby mining town of Knik. Historically entrepreneurial, the economic base shifted in the 1970s from small-scale agriculture and recreation to support for workers employed in Anchorage or on Alaska's North Slope oilfields and related infrastructure. The George Parks Highway turned the town into a commuter suburb of Anchorage. Several state and federal agencies have offices in Wasilla, including the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and Divisions of Public Assistance, Social Services.
Wasilla gained international attention when Sarah Palin, who served as Mayor of Wasilla before her election as Governor of Alaska, was chosen by John McCain as his running mate for Vice President of the United States in the 2008 United States presidential election.
Pick the Right Nursing College near Wasilla AK
Selecting the ideal nursing school is potentially the most crucial step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of variables that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Wasilla AK.
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