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How to Choose the Right Nursing Course near College Alaska

College Alaska Nurse checking patient with stethoscopeLocating the best nursing program near College AK may feel like a formidable project, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional factors to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

College Alaska nurse taking blodd pressure of senior woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely College AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly 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 are several degree options available to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the College AK area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish to advance 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 achieving 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 attained 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 fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Schools

College Alaska Nurse holding health chartAttending nursing schools online is growing into a more popular way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for many College AK students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of 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 household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an essential component of a College AK medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, the most notable are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly go into the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the health profession, rather than the analytical or research related elements, is attractive to many who elect to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a number of work settings, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses provide primary patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

registered nurse reading with College Alaska nursing home patientOnce you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near College AK or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.

  • 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 organization. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many College 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. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements 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 considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some College 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 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 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 College AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with College AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Training in College

Choose the Right Alaska RN School

Selecting the right nursing program is perhaps the most important first step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of factors that you should think about when picking a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in College Alaska.


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