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How to Find an Accredited Nursing School near Bethel Alaska

Bethel Alaska RN checking patient with stethoscopeSearching for the best nursing college near Bethel AK may feel like a complex undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are many key additional factors to check out before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree choices that are available along with what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Bethel Alaska RN reading vital signs of senior woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Bethel AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to aid 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 as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing 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 typically 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 School Degree Options

There is more than one degree option offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Bethel AK area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a two year program after acquiring 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 attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Programs

Bethel Alaska RN holding medical fileAttending nursing programs online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend school for many Bethel AK students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily 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 commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an important component of a Bethel AK medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, among the most notable are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often choose the profession out of a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related aspects, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a variety of work environments, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses deliver primary patient care, others elect to be educators, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Courses

registered nurse interacting with Bethel Alaska assisted living patientOnce you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Bethel AK or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up 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. Besides helping verify that you get a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Bethel AK area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • 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. Many states require a specified 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 exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Bethel 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Bethel AK medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Bethel AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Find Out More About Online Nursing Training in Bethel

Choose the Right Alaska RN Program

Enrolling in the ideal nursing degree program is probably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of variables that you need to think about when picking a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Bethel Alaska.


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