Nursing Schools in Alaska

How to Find the Right Nursing Program in Alaska

Alaska Licensed Registered NurseSearching for the best nursing college in Alaska may seem like a complex endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the nursing school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are many essential additional factors to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system in Alaska. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses in Alaska with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. 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 basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in Alaska.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in Alaska medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides 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 may want 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 normally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has earned 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 can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.

LPN Certificates and Degrees

There are generally two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it should be Alaska approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

CNA Training

In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for Alaska to make certain that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.

Nursing Online Schools

RN working in Alaska nursing homeAttending nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local Alaska healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

What to Ask Nurse Courses

Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before 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. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools in Alaska.
  • 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. Certain states require a specified 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 provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby 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 schools you are considering 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Alaska medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Alaska nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Select the Right RN Course in Alaska

Enrolling in the right registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most important step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional 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 right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Alaska.

Some Cities in Alaska You May be Interested In

 

  • Nursing School Degree Programs near Thorne Bay 99919
  • Nursing School Degree Programs near Skagway 99840
  • Nursing School Degree Programs near Craig 99921
  • Nursing School Degree Programs near Anchorage 99501
  • Nursing School Degree Programs near Nikiski 99635
  • Nursing School Degree Programs near Barrow 99723
  • Nursing School Degree Programs near Ketchikan 99901
  • Nursing School Degree Programs near Port Lions 99550
  • Nursing School Degree Programs near Wasilla 99654
  • Nursing School Degree Programs near Anderson 99744
  •