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How to Select the Right RN Program near Homer Alaska

Homer Alaska RN examining man with stethoscopeSelecting the best nursing college near Homer AK may seem like a complex project, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is local to your home is probably not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various important additional things to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the roles of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Homer Alaska nurse reading blodd pressure of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Homer AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. 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 common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degree Options

There is more than one degree option offered to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Homer AK area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly 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 desire to advance 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 generally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate 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) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Programs

Homer Alaska RN holding medical fileEnrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for some Homer AK students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive 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 numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an integral part of a Homer 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 research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, the most significant are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly choose 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 side of the medical profession, rather than the analytical or research related elements, is attractive to many who elect to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work settings, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses provide primary patient care, others choose to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Courses

RN reading with Homer Alaska nursing home patientNow that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Homer AK or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Homer 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Homer 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 programs 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate 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 best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Homer AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Schools in Homer

Choose the Right Alaska RN Program

Enrolling in the ideal nursing degree program is arguably the most critical step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various aspects that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist 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 right 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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