How to Select the Right Nursing Training Program near Fairbanks Alaska
Locating the right nursing school near Fairbanks AK may feel like a complex project, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are various key additional things to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are available together with what the roles of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Fairbanks AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing 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 normally 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 Degrees Available
There are several degree options 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 as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Fairbanks AK area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 generally a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained 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. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend school for many Fairbanks AK students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other 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. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Why Enter the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an indispensable component of a Fairbanks 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 healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, among the most significant are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often go into the profession out of a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the health profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related aspects, is attractive to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work environments, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses provide primary patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Fairbanks AK or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Fairbanks AK area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Fairbanks 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 programs 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Fairbanks AK medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Fairbanks AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Alaska RN Program
Enrolling in the right nursing degree program is probably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are numerous variables that you must consider when selecting a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Fairbanks Alaska.