How to Select an Accredited Nursing Course near Nikiski Alaska
Locating the right nursing program near Nikiski AK may feel like a difficult endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your home is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional factors to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Nikiski AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of 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 commonly 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 College Degree Options
There are several degree options 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 just two years, or continue on to obtain 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 Nikiski AK area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive 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 prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 usually a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for some Nikiski AK students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can 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. And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little 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 Nursing?Nurses are an indispensable component of a Nikiski AK medical team, and for a large 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 several reasons, the most meaningful are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly choose the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the healthcare profession, rather than the analytical or research related facets, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a variety of work environments, including nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specialties, including addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses deliver personal patient care, others opt to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Courses
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Nikiski AK or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier 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 look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Nikiski 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified 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 provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Nikiski AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 dissatisfied 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 favorable reputation within the Nikiski AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Nikiski AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Alaska RN College
Choosing the right nursing college is perhaps the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are many aspects that you need to think about when selecting a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed within this post, it is essential that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Nikiski Alaska.