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How to Choose the Right RN College near Palmer Alaska

Palmer Alaska RN checking man with stethoscopeFinding the best nursing college near Palmer AK may seem like a difficult project, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your home is probably not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many essential additional considerations to investigate before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are available as well as what the roles of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Palmer Alaska RN taking blodd pressure of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Palmer AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating 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 responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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 routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing School Degrees

There are several degree options available to become a nurse. And 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 earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Palmer AK area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has earned 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. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Degrees

Palmer Alaska Nurse holding health fileAttending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for many Palmer AK students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an essential part of a Palmer AK medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, among the most significant are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a medical facility or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently choose the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related aspects, is attractive to many who choose to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work settings, such as home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, including addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses provide primary patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Programs

Nurse reading with Palmer Alaska nursing home patientNow that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Palmer AK or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.

  • 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 assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Palmer 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. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Palmer 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 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 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 Palmer AK medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Palmer AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Find Out More About Enrolling in Nursing Training in Palmer

Enroll in the Right Alaska RN Program

Deciding on the ideal nursing school is potentially the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are many aspects that you should think about when picking a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is essential that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Palmer Alaska.


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