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How to Choose the Right RN Training Program near Nikiski Alaska

Nikiski Alaska Nurse checking patient with stethoscopeLocating the best nursing college near Nikiski AK may seem like a complex endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are several key additional things to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree options that are available along with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Nikiski Alaska RN reading blodd pressure of senior woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Nikiski AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific 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:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically 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 School Degrees Available

There is more than one degree option available 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 earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Nikiski AK area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish to advance 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 generally a two year program after acquiring 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) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Programs

Nikiski Alaska Nurse holding medical fileAttending nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for many Nikiski AK students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an essential part of a Nikiski AK medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, among the most significant are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often go into the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This human aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related elements, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a number of work settings, including home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses deliver primary patient care, others choose to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Schools

Nurse reading with Nikiski Alaska nursing home patientOnce you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Nikiski AK or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.

  • 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 organization. In addition to helping verify that you get a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Nikiski AK area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. 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 speak with some Nikiski 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 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Nikiski AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Nikiski AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Find Out More About Online Nursing Classes in Nikiski

Enroll in the Right Alaska RN College

Deciding on the ideal nursing degree program is probably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are various aspects that you should consider when deciding on a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is important that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Nikiski Alaska.


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