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How to Find the Best Nursing School near Juneau Alaska

Juneau Alaska neonatal nurse with babyLocating the right nursing college near Juneau AK may feel like a challenging project, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are several essential additional aspects to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.

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Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Juneau Alaska Nurse with senior woman patient

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as Juneau AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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 basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

There is more than one degree option available 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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Juneau AK area.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Alaska community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Alaska 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 desire to advance 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 offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Degrees

Juneau Alaska Nurse setting up IV drip during surgical procedureEnrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more in demand way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for some Juneau AK students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family commitments 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 busy schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Juneau AK or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.

  • 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 organization. Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Juneau AK for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along 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 important that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Juneau 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 looking at 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 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Juneau AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Juneau AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

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Choose the Best Juneau Nursing School

Enrolling in the right nursing college is arguably the most important step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many factors that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Juneau Alaska.



 

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