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How to Select the Right RN Training Program near Sterling Alaska

Sterling Alaska RN checking man with stethoscopeLocating the right nursing college near Sterling AK may feel like a complex undertaking, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is closest to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are several crucial additional factors to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are offered as well as what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Sterling Alaska RN reading vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Sterling AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to support doctors in the care 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. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Keeping health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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 College Degree Options

There are multiple degrees offered 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 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Sterling AK area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After 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 vary from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Degrees

Sterling Alaska RN holding medical chartAttending nursing programs online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for many Sterling AK students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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. So if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an indispensable component of a Sterling AK medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to many opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, the most significant are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently choose the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related elements, is appealing to many who decide to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work settings, including home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While most nurses deliver personal patient care, others opt to be educators, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Programs

RN interacting with Sterling Alaska nursing home patientNow that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Sterling AK or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.

  • 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 organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered 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 differ 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 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 outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to find 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 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Sterling AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. 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 Online Nursing Programs in Sterling

Choose the Right Alaska RN College

Picking the ideal nursing college is probably the most critical step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous aspects that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed within this content, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Sterling Alaska.


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