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How to Choose an Accredited RN Degree Program near Kalifornsky Alaska

Kalifornsky Alaska Nurse checking patient with stethoscopeFinding the best nursing college near Kalifornsky AK may seem like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are several crucial additional aspects to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are available together with what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Kalifornsky Alaska RN reading vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Kalifornsky AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Keeping health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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 basic 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 enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Kalifornsky 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 position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 typically a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has obtained 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. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Programs

Kalifornsky Alaska Nurse holding health chartAttending nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Kalifornsky AK students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more 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 job and household obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe 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 component of a Kalifornsky AK medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, among the most meaningful are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly choose the profession due to a passion 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 healthcare profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related aspects, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a number of work environments, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, including addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While many nurses deliver direct patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Schools

RN interacting with Kalifornsky Alaska nursing home patientNow that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Kalifornsky AK or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly 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 select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will consider. 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 pick 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Kalifornsky 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 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 delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Kalifornsky AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 dissatisfied 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 good reputation within the Kalifornsky AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective 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 prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Kalifornsky AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Degree Programs in Kalifornsky

Enroll in the Right Alaska RN Program

Choosing the ideal nursing college is potentially the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are many variables that you need to consider when picking a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing 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 proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Kalifornsky Alaska.


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