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How to Select the Best RN Training Program near Lakes Alaska

Lakes Alaska Nurse examining man with stethoscopeSelecting the best nursing program near Lakes AK may seem like a challenging undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are various essential additional things to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Lakes Alaska nurse reading vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Lakes AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing 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), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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 is more than one degree option offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain 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 short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Lakes AK area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 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 commonly a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers 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. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Classes

Lakes Alaska Nurse holding health fileAttending nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for some Lakes AK students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an indispensable part of a Lakes AK medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly go into the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the health profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work environments, including nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses deliver primary patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Courses

RN reading with Lakes Alaska nursing home patientNow that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Lakes AK or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing 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 prerequisites for registered nurses differ 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, 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 assessments 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 displeased 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 Lakes AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain 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 requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Lakes AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Schools in Lakes

Enroll in the Best Alaska RN College

Picking the right nursing college is probably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous aspects that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent 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 choose from so that you can make your final 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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