How to Pick the Right RN Course Online in Juneau Alaska
Searching for the right nursing program near Juneau AK may seem like a challenging project, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is closest to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are many crucial additional considerations to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
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RN Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Juneau AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options 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 two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Juneau AK area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by Alaska community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Alaska colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a 2 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.
After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Colleges
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed 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 free time to attend school for some Juneau AK students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary 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 such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Training Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Juneau AK or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up 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 agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Juneau AK for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending 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 practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch 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 judgments 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Juneau AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Juneau AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right Juneau Nursing Degree Program
Deciding on the right nursing school is arguably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this article, it is important that you select 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 produce a short list of schools to choose 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 licensed registered nurse in Juneau Alaska.