How to Find the Right RN School near Juneau AK
Locating the right nursing school near Juneau AK may seem like a formidable undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is local to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional factors to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Juneau AK hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic 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 specialization along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of 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 commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive 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 short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Juneau Alaska area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by Alaska community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers 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 past 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 Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a two year program after achieving 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, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Juneau AK students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Juneau AK or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares 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 organization. Besides helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Alaska for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified 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 a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Juneau AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Juneau AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Juneau AK area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Juneau AK RN Program
Picking the right nursing college is arguably the most critical first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many factors that you should consider when selecting a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Juneau AK.