How to Choose the Right RN Course Online in Fairbanks Alaska
Searching for the best nursing program near Fairbanks AK may seem like a formidable project, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is local to your residence is most likely not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are several key additional considerations to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
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Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Fairbanks AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing 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 example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Fairbanks AK area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by Alaska community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Alaska colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 job market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after achieving 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 attained 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. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Colleges
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more favored way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for some Fairbanks AK students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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. Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask RN Training Programs
Once you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Fairbanks AK or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Fairbanks AK for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Fairbanks 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 colleges you are considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied 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 good reputation within the Fairbanks AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Fairbanks AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Best Fairbanks Nursing School
Selecting the right nursing college is probably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous aspects that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Fairbanks Alaska.