How to Find the Right RN Course Online in Juneau Alaska
Choosing the right nursing program near Juneau AK may seem like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly college or the one that is closest to your house is probably not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various key additional factors to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.
It Takes Just a Minute to Start Your Nursing Career in Alaska!
RN Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Juneau AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, 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 basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Juneau AK area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by Alaska community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Alaska 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 want 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 two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for many Juneau AK students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Juneau AK or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Juneau AK for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, contact 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 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Juneau AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Juneau AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right Juneau Nursing Program
Choosing the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous aspects that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed within this content, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both 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 final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Juneau Alaska.