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How to Choose the Right RN School near Knik Fairview Alaska

Knik Fairview Alaska RN examining patient with stethoscopeLocating the right nursing college near Knik Fairview AK may seem like a difficult undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research 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 exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is local to your home is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are several essential additional considerations to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree options that are offered together with what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Knik Fairview Alaska nurse taking vital signs of senior woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Knik Fairview AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Keeping health records and charts

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

Nursing School Degrees

There are multiple degrees available 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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Knik Fairview AK area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly 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 may 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 obtaining 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 attained 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. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Classes

Knik Fairview Alaska RN holding medical fileAttending nursing schools online is growing into a more preferred way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Knik Fairview AK students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an essential part of a Knik Fairview AK medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, among the most meaningful are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often go into the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This human side of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who elect to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, such as home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses deliver primary patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Courses

Nurse reading with Knik Fairview Alaska nursing home patientNow that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Knik Fairview AK or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. 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 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Knik Fairview AK area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to 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 preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Knik Fairview 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 considering 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Knik Fairview AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Knik Fairview AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Find Out More About Online Nursing Schools in Knik Fairview

Choose the Best Alaska RN Program

Picking the ideal nursing school is arguably the most critical first step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous variables that you should think about when deciding on a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Knik Fairview Alaska.


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