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How to Enroll In the Right Nursing School near Steele Creek Alaska

Steele Creek Alaska RN checking patient with stethoscopeSelecting the right nursing program near Steele Creek AK may seem like a complicated endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is local to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various crucial additional considerations to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are offered together with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Steele Creek Alaska RN reading vital signs of senior female patient

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including Steele Creek AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex 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 basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing School Degrees

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 receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Steele Creek AK area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive 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 might 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 generally a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has attained 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 vary from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Classes

Steele Creek Alaska RN holding medical chartAttending nursing programs online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend college for many Steele Creek AK students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more 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 work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an important component of a Steele Creek 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 go into the profession for several reasons, among the most significant are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly 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 long-term care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related facets, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a number of work settings, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses provide primary patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Programs

registered nurse interacting with Steele Creek Alaska nursing home patientOnce you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Steele Creek AK or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Steele Creek 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified 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 a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Steele Creek 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Steele Creek AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Steele Creek AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Courses in Steele Creek

Choose the Best Alaska RN Program

Selecting the right nursing degree program is arguably the most critical step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many factors that you should consider when selecting a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Steele Creek Alaska.


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