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How to Pick the Best Nursing Course near Nikiski Alaska

Nikiski Alaska RN checking patient with stethoscopeSearching for the right nursing college near Nikiski AK may seem like a complex project, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are several essential additional aspects to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Nikiski Alaska nurse reading vital signs of senior woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Nikiski AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing School 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 earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations 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 offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally 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 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 normally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate 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) in order to become licensed. Other 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 Degrees

Nikiski Alaska Nurse holding health chartAttending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some Nikiski AK students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary 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. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

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

Things to Ask Nursing Schools

registered nurse interacting with Nikiski Alaska assisted living patientOnce you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Nikiski AK or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, 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. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may help in acquiring 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 vary 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Alaska school licensing authority to determine 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 schools you are looking at 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Nikiski AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Nikiski AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Find Out More About Enrolling in Nursing Classes in Nikiski

Enroll in the Best Alaska RN Program

Enrolling in the right nursing program is potentially the most critical phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you need to think about when choosing a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is critical that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Nikiski Alaska.


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