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How to Pick an Accredited Nursing Training Program near Meadow Lakes Alaska

Meadow Lakes Alaska Nurse examining man with stethoscopeSearching for the best nursing school near Meadow Lakes AK may feel like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is local to your residence is most likely not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional factors to check out before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Meadow Lakes Alaska nurse taking blodd pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Meadow Lakes AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, 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 Degree Options

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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Meadow Lakes AK area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers 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) 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 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 typically a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he 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 be sure to check with the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Schools

Meadow Lakes Alaska Nurse holding medical fileEnrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many Meadow Lakes AK students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. 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. Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an integral component of a Meadow Lakes AK medical team, and for many 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 notable are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently 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 prolonged care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the medical profession, rather than the analytical or research related elements, is attractive to many who decide to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work environments, including nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses deliver direct patient care, others opt to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Schools

RN interacting with Meadow Lakes Alaska assisted living patientNow that you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Meadow Lakes AK or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Meadow Lakes AK area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many 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 attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Meadow 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 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Meadow Lakes AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Meadow Lakes AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Classes in Meadow Lakes

Choose the Right Alaska RN Program

Choosing the right nursing school is perhaps the most important phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of variables that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is critical that you pick a nursing school 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 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 desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Meadow Lakes Alaska.


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