How to Pick an Accredited RN Course near Chena Ridge Alaska
Locating the best nursing college near Chena Ridge AK may seem like a complicated project, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of important additional things to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Chena Ridge AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, 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:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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 basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing School Degrees Available
There are several degree options to choose from to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Chena Ridge 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 job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately 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 usually a 4 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 might 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 typically a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more popular way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for many Chena Ridge AK students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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. Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Nursing?Nurses are an integral part of a Chena Ridge AK medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, the most significant are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly go into the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the healthcare profession, rather than the research or analytical related elements, is attractive to many who elect to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work environments, including home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses provide personal patient care, others elect to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Chena Ridge AK or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
- 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. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Chena Ridge 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Chena Ridge 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 schools you are considering 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Chena Ridge AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Chena Ridge AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Alaska RN Program
Enrolling in the right nursing program is arguably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are many factors that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is critical that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Chena Ridge Alaska.