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How to Enroll In the Best Nursing School near Bethel Alaska

Bethel Alaska RN examining man with stethoscopeSelecting the right nursing college near Bethel AK may seem like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are several key additional aspects to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are available as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Bethel Alaska nurse reading blodd pressure of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Bethel AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Taking care of 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 College Degree Options

There is more than one degree option offered to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available 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 prepares 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 achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Programs

Bethel Alaska Nurse holding health fileEnrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for many Bethel AK students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an important part of a Bethel AK medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, the most meaningful are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often choose the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This human side of the health profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related elements, is appealing to many who decide to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work environments, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses provide primary patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Colleges

Nurse reading with Bethel Alaska assisted living patientNow that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Bethel AK or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout 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 location of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first 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 ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.

  • 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Bethel AK area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Bethel 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 RN colleges 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Bethel AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Bethel AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Classes in Bethel

Choose the Best Alaska RN College

Picking the right nursing college is arguably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous factors that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is essential that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Bethel Alaska.


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