How to Pick the Right RN College near Fairbanks AK
Finding the best nursing college near Fairbanks AK may feel like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are many crucial additional things to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree options that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Fairbanks AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses 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 often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option available to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Fairbanks Alaska area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by Alaska community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Alaska colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained 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 fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend classes for some Fairbanks AK students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. 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 family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Enter the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an essential component of a Fairbanks AK medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly choose the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This human side of the health profession, rather than the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a variety of work environments, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses deliver direct patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Fairbanks AK or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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. In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Alaska for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary 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. Certain states require a specific 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 delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares 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 all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Fairbanks 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Fairbanks AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Fairbanks AK area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Fairbanks AK Nursing Program
Choosing the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous aspects that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list 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 drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Fairbanks AK.