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How to Choose an Accredited RN School near Lakes Alaska

Lakes Alaska RN examining man with stethoscopeFinding the best nursing school near Lakes AK may feel like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many future students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is local to your house is probably not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are many important additional factors to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree options that are available as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Lakes Alaska nurse taking vital signs of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including Lakes AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function 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 specialization along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Maintaining 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 often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing School Degrees Available

There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Lakes AK area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a 2 year program after obtaining 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, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Schools

Lakes Alaska RN holding health fileAttending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some Lakes AK students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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 family commitments have left you with very little 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 Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an integral component of a Lakes AK medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, the most significant are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often choose the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related elements, is appealing to many who decide to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a variety of work environments, including home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses deliver personal patient care, others opt to be educators, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

RN reading with Lakes Alaska nursing home patientNow that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Lakes AK or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.

  • 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 ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Lakes AK area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific 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 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 online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Lakes 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 colleges you are considering 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Lakes AK medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually 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 a working relationship with Lakes AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Find Out More About Enrolling in Nursing Schools in Lakes

Choose the Right Alaska RN College

Selecting the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous aspects that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this article, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Lakes Alaska.


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