How to Select the Right Nursing Training Program Online in Juneau Alaska
Finding the best nursing program near Juneau AK may seem like a formidable project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence is no doubt not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are several important additional considerations to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
It Takes Just a Minute to Start Your Nursing Career in Alaska!
RN Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Juneau AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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 offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive 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 short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Juneau AK area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by Alaska community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Alaska colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 generally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more popular way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Juneau AK students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Juneau AK or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other programs.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Juneau AK for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, 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 judgments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Juneau AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Juneau AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Best Juneau Nursing School
Enrolling in the right nursing school is arguably the most critical phase to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are many aspects that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Juneau Alaska.