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How to Enroll In the Best RN Degree Program near Tanaina Alaska

Tanaina Alaska RN examining patient with stethoscopeFinding the best nursing program near Tanaina AK may feel like a complicated undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is local to your house is most likely not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of important additional things to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree options that are offered along with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Tanaina Alaska nurse reading blodd pressure of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Tanaina AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing 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), for instance, 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 Degree Options

There are multiple degrees available to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Tanaina 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 employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 typically a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Schools

Tanaina Alaska RN holding medical fileEnrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend college for some Tanaina AK students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily 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 family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an essential part of a Tanaina AK medical team, and for a large 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 go into the profession for several reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often go into the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This human aspect of the medical 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 environments, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses provide direct patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

RN reading with Tanaina Alaska nursing home patientOnce you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Tanaina AK or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.

  • 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Tanaina AK area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Tanaina 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 colleges 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Tanaina AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Tanaina AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Schools in Tanaina

Choose the Right Alaska RN College

Choosing the right nursing degree program is probably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various variables that you need to consider when selecting a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is important that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Tanaina Alaska.


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