How to Pick an Accredited Nursing Degree Program near Eagle River Alaska
Searching for the best nursing school near Eagle River AK may feel like a challenging endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is local to your residence is probably not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many essential additional factors to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree choices that are available together with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Eagle River AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level 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 deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing College Degree Options
There are several degree options available 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 earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Eagle River AK area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally 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 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 usually 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.
When 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) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend classes for many Eagle River AK students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Enter the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an essential component of a Eagle River AK medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, among the most significant are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often go into the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related aspects, is appealing to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a variety of work environments, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses provide personal patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Courses
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Eagle River AK or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Eagle River AK area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain 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 provides an outstanding education, but also prepares 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 evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Eagle River 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 colleges 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 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 superb reputation within the Eagle River AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified 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 Eagle River AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Alaska RN School
Picking the right nursing program is arguably the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous variables that you should think about when choosing a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is essential that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Eagle River Alaska.