How to Enroll In a Nursing Degree Program near Healy Alaska
Choosing the best nursing college near Healy AK may seem like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your residence is no doubt not the best way to select a nursing program. There are several crucial additional aspects to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Healy AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Healy AK area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically 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 may 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 normally 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.
After 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. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are basically two scholastic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time period, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with offering 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 kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Alaska approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants 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.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at Healy AK area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three 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 training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training 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 might be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend school for many Healy AK students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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. So if your work and household responsibilities 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.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Healy AK or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see 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 organization. Aside from helping verify that you get an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Healy 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified 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 a top-notch education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Healy 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 programs you are looking at 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Healy AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Healy AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Healy AK?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Healy 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.
Healy is located at 63°58′15″N 149°7′37″W / 63.97083°N 149.12694°W / 63.97083; -149.12694 (63.970833, -149.126944). The George Parks Highway (Alaska Route 3) runs through the community, leading south 18 miles (29 km) to Denali Park and north 56 miles (90 km) to Nenana.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the Healy CDP has a total area of 687.2 square miles (1,779.8 km2), of which 687.0 square miles (1,779.2 km2) is land and 0.19 square miles (0.5 km2), or 0.03%, is water. By area, it is the second-largest CDP in the United States, exceeded by only Willow, Alaska.
As is typical of the Alaska Interior, Healy experiences a subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc) with very long, bitterly cold winters and short, warm summers, and straddles the border between USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 2 and 3, indicating the coldest temperature of the year is typically around −40 °F (−40 °C). Average temperatures are below freezing from early October to mid-April, though occasionally chinook winds will push temperatures up to 45 °F (7.2 °C) even in the depths of winter.
Choose the Right Nursing College near Healy AK
Choosing the ideal nursing degree program is potentially the most critical step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Healy AK.
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