How to Find the Best Nursing Training Program near Juneau Alaska
Locating the best nursing college near Juneau AK may feel like a challenging undertaking, especially if you aren't sure 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 receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is local to your house is most likely not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many essential additional aspects to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree alternatives that are offered along with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Juneau AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing College Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees 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 obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance 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 Juneau AK area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 usually a 2 year program after obtaining 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 earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount 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 practical answer to finding the time to attend college for many Juneau AK students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Nursing?Nurses are an important component of a Juneau AK medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to many opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, the most significant are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a medical facility or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly choose the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related aspects, is appealing to many who elect to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses deliver direct patient care, others choose to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Juneau AK or on the internet, you can utilize 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 important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you get a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Juneau 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Juneau 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Juneau AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Juneau AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Alaska RN College
Deciding on the ideal nursing school is potentially the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you should consider when deciding on a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Juneau Alaska.