How to Pick a Nursing Program near Willow Alaska
Finding the best nursing school near Willow AK may seem like a challenging endeavor, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you 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 determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are a number of key additional aspects to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Willow AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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 common illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option 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 just 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Willow AK area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive 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 previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are basically two academic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest amount of time, normally 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 alternative and usually require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, 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 syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at Willow AK area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 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 training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for some Willow AK students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Willow AK or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 agency. In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Willow AK for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain 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 delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Willow 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 schools you are looking at 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Willow AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Willow AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Willow AK?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Willow 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.
Willow is a census-designated place (CDP) in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is part of the Anchorage, Alaska Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census the population was 2,102, up from 1,658 in 2000.
The community got its start in 1897 when miners discovered gold on Willow Creek. Ships and boats brought supplies and equipment up Cook Inlet, landing at Knik or Tyonek. From Knik, a 26-mile summer trail went northwesterly. The trail along Willow Creek heading east became Hatcher Pass Road, currently an adventurous scenic road used during the summer tour season.
Around 1970, before construction of the Parks Highway, Willow had a population of 78 until land disposals, homestead subdivisions, and completion of the George Parks Highway in 1972 fueled growth in the area.
Pick the Right Nursing College near Willow AK
Selecting the right nursing school is perhaps the most important first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous variables that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current 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 both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list 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 practicing RN in Willow AK.
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