How to Choose a Nursing Program near Wasilla Alaska
Choosing the best nursing school near Wasilla AK may feel like a complicated project, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of key additional factors to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Wasilla AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered 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 as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Wasilla AK area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally 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 employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive 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 past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire 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 typically a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained 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. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are basically two scholastic credentials offered that provide training 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 option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to 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 course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at Wasilla AK area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 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 period of instruction directed and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Wasilla AK or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.
- 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 organization. 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 available in Wasilla AK for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified 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 delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check 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. Also, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Wasilla AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost 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 a working relationship with Wasilla AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance 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 facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for many Wasilla AK students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family responsibilities 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 hectic schedule.
Attending 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 Departments of Environmental Diversion, Racism 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.
Choose the Right Nursing School near Wasilla AK
Selecting the right registered nursing school is probably the most important first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various variables that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Wasilla AK.
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