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How to Choose the Right Nursing Training Program near Juneau Alaska

Juneau Alaska Nurse examining patient with stethoscopeLocating the best nursing college near Juneau AK may seem like a difficult undertaking, 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 must receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are thinking about 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. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are various important additional factors to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Juneau Alaska nurse taking blodd pressure of senior woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Juneau AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degrees

There are multiple degrees to choose from 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Juneau AK area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive 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 might want to progress 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 typically a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers 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) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Classes

Juneau Alaska RN holding health chartAttending nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for some Juneau AK students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. 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. So if your work and household obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an essential component of a Juneau AK medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, among the most significant are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often choose the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This human side of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work settings, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specialties, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses provide personal patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Courses

RN interacting with Juneau Alaska nursing home patientOnce you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Juneau AK or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many 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 manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.

  • 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. Aside from helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Juneau AK area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary 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. 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 provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Juneau 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Juneau AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
  • 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Juneau AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Find Out More About Enrolling in Nursing Classes in Juneau

Enroll in the Right Alaska RN College

Selecting the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most important phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this content, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist 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 Juneau Alaska.


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