How to Choose an LPN Program in Anchorage Alaska
Once you have chosen a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it’s imperative that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school in Anchorage AK that will provide the necessary training. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their responsibilities do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the following segment. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with those that are the nearest to their homes or that are the least expensive. Although cost and location are relevant points to consider, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other factors, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important as well. There are additional questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LVN or LPN training program that we will address later in this article. But to start with, let’s take a look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Responsibilities
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have a number of functions that they complete in the Anchorage AK health facilities where they work. As their titles signify, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alaska. While they may be responsible for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can find patients in need of medical care is their domain. Each state not only controls their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can’t perform. So depending on the state, their daily work activities may include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Giving medications
- Setting up IV drips
- Observing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Supporting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their job responsibilities being regulated by each state, the Anchorage AK health facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can additionally limit their job roles within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in numerous specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
There are principally two scholastic accreditations available in Alaska that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Anchorage AK, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Anchorage AK area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by Alaska community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Alaska colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained 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. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Anchorage AK area. The duration of the instruction 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 instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training required and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for Alaska to make certain that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many Anchorage AK area schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. 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 work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school relative to Anchorage AK and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the Anchorage AK school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited Alaska schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for nurses, both LPNs and RNs, differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Anchorage AK school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Anchorage 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 LPN 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships in the Anchorage AK area to assist students attain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs in Alaska require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships in the Anchorage AK area.
Choose the Right LPN College Anchorage 99501
Choosing the best Licensed Practical Nurse training program is arguably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are many factors that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a Licensed Vocational Nurse in Anchorage AK.
Why Did You Choose to Be an LPN?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a licensed practical nurse, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must organize several strategies about how you want to answer them. Since there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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