How to Pick a Nursing School near Homer Alaska
Finding the best nursing school near Homer AK may seem like a challenging endeavor, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are various essential additional factors to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Homer AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to 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
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, 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 basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Homer AK area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 usually a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two scholastic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest period of time, typically about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from 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 seek, it should be Alaska approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees 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 many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at Homer AK area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction 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 mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies 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 certain that the education is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Homer AK or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin 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 lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly 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 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Homer 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, contact the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Homer 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 schools you are considering 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Homer 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Homer AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for some Homer AK students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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. And so if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Homer AK?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Homer 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.
Homer is a city in Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is 218 miles southwest of Anchorage. According to the 2010 Census, the population is 5,003, up from 3,946 in 2000. Long known as The "Halibut Fishing Capital of the World." Homer is also nicknamed "the end of the road," and more recently, "the cosmic hamlet by the sea."
Homer is on the shore of Kachemak Bay on the southwest side of the Kenai Peninsula. Its distinguishing feature is the Homer Spit, a narrow 4.5 mi (7.2 km)) long gravel bar that extends into the bay, on which is located the Homer Harbor.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 22.4 square miles (58 km2), of which 10.6 square miles (27 km2) is land and 11.9 square miles (31 km2) is water. The total area is 52.83% water.
Select the Right Nursing College near Homer AK
Choosing the right registered nursing degree program is arguably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are various aspects that you should think about when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is critical that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick 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 licensed registered nurse in Homer AK.
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