How to Enroll In an Accredited Nursing Training Program near Kodiak Alaska
Choosing the best nursing school near Kodiak AK may feel like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is local to your home is no doubt not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are several crucial additional aspects to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree options that are offered along with what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Kodiak AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing College Degree Options
There are several degree options 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 earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Kodiak AK area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 usually a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired 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. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more favored way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend school for many Kodiak AK students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of 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 family commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Why Nursing?Nurses are an important component of a Kodiak AK medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, the most notable are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly go into the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related elements, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a number of work environments, including home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses provide direct patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Courses
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Kodiak AK or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools. Also, many Kodiak 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Kodiak 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 programs 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 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 superb reputation within the Kodiak AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Kodiak AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Alaska RN Program
Enrolling in the ideal nursing college is arguably the most critical first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you must consider when selecting a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Kodiak Alaska.