How to Choose an Accredited Nursing College near Ketchikan Alaska
Selecting the best nursing college near Ketchikan AK may feel like a formidable endeavor, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are a number of important additional aspects to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Ketchikan AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and generally 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
There are multiple degrees 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 earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Ketchikan AK area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 generally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some Ketchikan AK students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Why Nursing?Nurses are an integral part of a Ketchikan 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 enter the profession for several reasons, the most significant are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often choose the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This human side of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related aspects, is appealing to many who decide to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work settings, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses provide personal patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Ketchikan AK or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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 organization. Besides helping make sure that you get a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools. Also, many Ketchikan 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified 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 comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Ketchikan 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Ketchikan AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Ketchikan AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Alaska RN Program
Deciding on the ideal nursing college is potentially the most important phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of aspects that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Ketchikan Alaska.