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How to Enroll In the Best RN College near Sterling Alaska

Sterling Alaska RN examining patient with stethoscopeLocating the best nursing program near Sterling AK may seem like a difficult project, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various important additional aspects to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are offered along with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Sterling Alaska nurse reading vital signs of senior woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Sterling AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. 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 routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing School Degrees Available

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 obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Sterling AK area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 generally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has received 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 make sure to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Classes

Sterling Alaska Nurse holding medical fileEnrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some Sterling AK students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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. So if your job and household obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an integral component of a Sterling AK medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to a number of opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, among the most meaningful are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many 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 situations 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 aspects, is appealing to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a number of work environments, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses deliver direct patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

Nurse reading with Sterling Alaska nursing home patientOnce you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Sterling AK or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Sterling 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) as well as 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 enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Sterling AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Sterling AK medical 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 setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Sterling AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Find Out More About Enrolling in Nursing Colleges in Sterling

Enroll in the Best Alaska RN College

Choosing the ideal nursing school is arguably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous aspects that you need to think about when choosing a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you pick a nursing school 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 create a short list of schools to pick 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 Sterling Alaska.


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