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How to Pick the Best RN Training Program near Homer Alaska

Homer Alaska Nurse examining patient with stethoscopeSearching for the best nursing program near Homer AK may seem like a complex project, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional aspects to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Homer Alaska nurse taking blodd pressure of senior woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Homer AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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 routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degrees

There is more than one degree option to choose from 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 obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Homer AK area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by community colleges. It readies 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 subsequently achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a four 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 may desire 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 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Schools

Homer Alaska Nurse holding medical fileEnrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for many Homer AK students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of 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 commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an essential part of a Homer AK medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, among the most notable are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This human side of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related elements, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work environments, including home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While many nurses deliver primary patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Courses

Nurse interacting with Homer Alaska assisted living patientOnce you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Homer AK or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other schools.

  • 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. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Homer AK area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different 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 attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Homer 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 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 favorable reputation within the Homer AK medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Homer AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Programs in Homer

Enroll in the Right Alaska RN College

Deciding on the right nursing college is potentially the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Homer Alaska.


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