How to Select a Nursing School near Gustavus Alaska
Selecting the right nursing school near Gustavus AK may feel like a complicated endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many essential additional things to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Gustavus AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
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 receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on 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 Gustavus 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 healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive 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 past 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 commonly a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received 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. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are basically two academic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest time frame, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide 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 any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum effectively 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 earn a college degree. CNA training can be received at Gustavus AK area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction required and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain 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 check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure 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 prerequisites as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Gustavus AK or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Gustavus AK for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary 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. 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 enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Gustavus 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 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 good reputation within the Gustavus AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Gustavus AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some Gustavus AK students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many 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 family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Gustavus AK?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Gustavus 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.
Gustavus, formerly known as "Strawberry Point", lies on the outwash plain created by the glaciers that once filled Glacier Bay. Two hundred years ago, it was primarily a single large "beach". The native Tlingit people and others used the area for fishing, berry picking, and other similar uses. The town itself is less than one hundred years old. The first settlers arrived in 1914, but left shortly afterward. The first permanent homestead was established in 1917, when Abraham Lincoln Parker moved his family to Strawberry Point. Many Gustavus residents are descendants and relatives of the original Parker homesteaders.
In 1925 the name became "Gustavus", when the U.S. Post Office required a change for its new post office, although locals continued calling it "Strawberry Point" long afterwards. The new name came from Point Gustavus at the mouth of Glacier Bay.
In 1793 George Vancouver named Point Adolphus (at the northern tip of Chichagof Island, and today a well-known humpback whale feeding area) after Adolphus Frederick, seventh son of King George III. In 1878, W.H. Dall, while working on a coastal survey, saw "Adolphus" on the map and assumed it was for Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus. The point across Icy Strait from Point Adolphus at the mouth of Glacier Bay was not named on the map, so Dall called it "Gustavus". Another possibility is that Dall named Gustavus for Gustavus C. Hanus, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate who had extensive experience throughout southeast Alaska, and both Dall and Hanus served with the Coast Survey in Alaska. Hanus laid out the first streets in Juneau and helped quell the trouble in Klukwan in 1881.
Choose the Right Nursing Program near Gustavus AK
Selecting the right registered nursing program is perhaps the most critical step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many variables that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is important that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Gustavus AK.
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