How to Pick a Nursing Program near Fairbanks Alaska
Finding the right nursing college near Fairbanks AK may feel like a complicated endeavor, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are many important additional things to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Fairbanks AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job 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 in addition to where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide 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 as little as two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Fairbanks AK area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 commonly 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.
When a graduating student has received 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. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are generally two scholastic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time frame, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing 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 pursue, it should be Alaska approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum adequately 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 have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Fairbanks AK area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction mandated and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills 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 is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Fairbanks AK or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.
- 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. Besides helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Fairbanks AK for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Fairbanks 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 schools 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 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 Fairbanks AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. 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 also. Check if the schools have associations with Fairbanks AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number 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 practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for many Fairbanks AK students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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 job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Fairbanks AK?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Fairbanks 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.
Fairbanks is the largest city in the Interior region of Alaska. 2016 estimates put the population of the city proper at 32,751, and the population of the Fairbanks North Star Borough at 97,121, making it the second most populous metropolitan area in Alaska (after Anchorage). The Metropolitan Statistical Area encompasses all of the Fairbanks North Star Borough and is the northernmost Metropolitan Statistical Area in the United States, located 196 driving miles (or 140 air miles) south of the Arctic Circle. Fairbanks is home to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the founding campus of the University of Alaska system.
Though, as of yet, there is not a known permanent Alaska Native settlement at the site of Fairbanks, Athabascan peoples have used the area for thousands of years. An archaeological site excavated on the grounds of the University of Alaska Fairbanks uncovered a Native camp about 3,500 years old, with older remains found at deeper levels. From evidence gathered at the site,archaeologists surmise that Native activities in the area were limited to seasonal hunting and fishing as fridge temperatures precluded berry gathering . In addition, archeological sites on the grounds of nearby Fort Wainwright date back well over 10,000 years. Arrowheads excavated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks site matched similar items found in Asia, providing some of the first evidence that humans arrived in North America via the Bering Strait land bridge in deep antiquity.
Captain E. T. Barnette founded Fairbanks in August 1901 while headed to Tanacross (or Tanana Crossing, where the Valdez–Eagle trail crossed the Tanana River), where he intended to set up a trading post. The steamboat on which Barnette was a passenger, the Lavelle Young, ran aground while attempting to negotiate shallow water. Barnette, along with his party and supplies, were deposited along the banks of the Chena River 7 miles (11 km) upstream from its confluence with the Tanana River. The sight of smoke from the steamer's engines caught the attention of gold prospectors working in the hills to the north, most notably an Italian immigrant named Felice Pedroni (better known as Felix Pedro) and his partner Tom Gilmore. The two met Barnette where he disembarked and convinced him of the potential of the area. Barnette set up his trading post at the site, still intending to eventually make it to Tanacross. Teams of gold prospectors soon congregated in and around the newly founded Fairbanks; they built drift mines, dredges, and lode mines in addition to panning and sluicing.
Pick the Right Nursing Program near Fairbanks AK
Picking the ideal registered nursing degree program is probably the most important phase to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed within this content, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Fairbanks AK.
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